I found a terrific graphic that visually answers the question we get often at the Centre which is, “Why do I need a business plan?”
My favourite design /philosophy /news/ interesting-stuff site, Co-Design, has an article about an artist who designs posters that are simple illustrations of complex paradigms. This one, designed by Joey Roth, shows the very concept that we struggle to impart to our clients regarding the power of the entrepreneurial dream vs. the need to dig in and work to make the dream happen.
Mark Wilson’s article in the most recent Co-Design shows some of Roth’s infographic work and quotes the artist as saying “the poster is inspired by my developing realization that the most valuable tool anyone has is their grind--represented in the poster as steps carved into an incline. I’m not talking about the ‘daily’ grind: doing work you don’t like or care about. By ‘grind’ I mean a combination of work ethic and improvised strategy that becomes a daily ritual, and ensures progression or improvement over time, regardless of an individual day or even week’s outcome… Dreaming about reaching the same goal is easier and faster in the beginning, but doesn’t provide the same ritualized framework. The more a dream is exposed to reality, the more it needs this framework: grind.”
‘Work ethic and improvised strategy.’ We couldn’t agree more. The poster illustrates the increasing difficulty of reaching your goal via the dream rather than the steady progression toward the objective that is planning, thinking and doing.
Certainly worth the $35 cost of the poster via Joey Roth’s website. Look for a large framed copy soon at your friendly downtown Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba.
I few years ago I served on the board of a non-profit organization with a fellow who believed that anything that worked well and smoothly should be shaken and stirred, just to keep things interesting. Naturally, this created a great deal of stress for the staff of the organization and no little worry for his fellow board members as well. Since that time, I’ve encountered several other people, on both sides of the board table, who believe similarly that when a healthy organization is sailing along, meeting its goals and delivering expected results, that is the time to “become the irritant that creates the pearl in the oyster”, as one woman put it.
Recently, I came across an interesting article about ‘disruptive hypotheses’ that triggered all of the old feelings about the two year period I spent helping to put out fires that my board colleague had cheerfully and purposefully set. It also gave me a new perspective. The piece was in my favourite on-line publication, Co-Design and is a condensed version of the first chapter of Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business by Luke Williams.
Mr. Williams stipulates that the disruptive hypothesis is a very important mechanism for creating innovation. It helps to ask the ‘what if’ questions that lead to visionary thinking and creativity. However, I believe that since the disruptive hypothesis is an intentionally unreasonable statement that is meant to get your creative juices flowing, if used at the wrong time, in the wrong way it can be a serious hindrance to the ongoing healthy development of an organization. It can serve to undermine or cast serious doubt on successes achieved and on those people who might be making every effort to reach their goals or carry out their mandates; it can be asking the impossible from workers/managers/directors who are already giving their all.
When is the optimal time to use the disruptive hypothesis? When there is a sticky problem to be solved that appears to be insoluble; when a business is mired in stasis and has no forward momentum; or when successful activities (or profits) are substantially below the potential that the business might have achieved. That’s when you really need to do some sideways thinking to get things moving in the right direction.
So for all of you wrench throwers out there, you can be a force for good or evil, just choose your time and playing field with care.