Another afternoon talking NEETS and another bunch of folk who think that a few more entrepreneurs going in to schools to raise aspirations will make things better.
Because for the vast majority of the time our cultures, in schools, councils and other machine bureaucracies actually teach a very different lesson.
The celebration of compliance and subjugation to the system. So….
Here’s to the compliant ones
The ‘OK’ folk
The shapeshifters occupying the shape shifting roles
The ones who see the reason of others
They are fond of rules and the security of routine
They can quote you, agree with you, glorify, and support you
And, when you need to, you can ignore them.
Because they challenge nothing,
They don’t push the boundaries
And, while some may see them as automatons, we see them as gun fodder
The people who will threaten nothing and will work for little more.
For a long time now I have had real concerns about the focus of policy makers, and the projects that they spawn, on ‘enterprise’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ as being just too business oriented. It is as if the only fields of human endeavour that matter are commerce of some kind. Making money or fixing societies ills.
This is especially un-nerving when you see it played out in our primary schools as 6 year olds are encouraged to wear badges that proclaim them be a ‘Sales Director’, an ‘Operations Manager’ or a ‘Brand Executive’. Yuk!
What about all of those other great fields of human endeavour?
Climbing mountains, making art, having fun, playing sport, writing, cooking and so on.
What if we encouraged our 6 year olds to wear badges that proclaimed them to be ‘Footballer in Training’, ‘Ballet Dancer under Construction’, ‘Surgeon to Be’ or ‘The Next Michael McIntyre’? OK, so perhaps we don’t need another Michael McIntyre…. but you get my point?
Because what really matters is not exposing more people to the world of business and entrepreneurship. It is to get them imagining possible futures, and learning how best to navigate towards them. It is about developing people with a sense of agency and influence over their own futures. It is about building a generation with both power and compassion. And a generation who really understand how to use the tools of collaboration, association and cooperation in pursuit of mutual progress.
Does it really only matter if their chosen endeavour contributes to GVA? Or is there more to our humanity that we need to recognise and encourage through both our policy and practice?
And this is not just an issue in schools. It runs like a plague through our communities from cradle to grave.
I think this is important because we lose so many who are completely turned off by the thought of a world of commerce (and let’s face it we don’t all want to dive headlong into a world of Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice).
So what about if instead of focussing on enterprise and entrepreneurship we attempted to throw our net wider and to encourage and support people to build their power and compassion in whatever they choose to be their particular fields of human endeavour?
I tend to agree with JG Ballard when he said:
The trouble is the alternatives to pursuing public funding are so damned hard. They traditionally rely on someone liking your art enough (or believing it to be a decent investment proposition), to want to actually buy it at a price that does not lose the artist money and that values their time and skill reasonably.
But what if we set up a site where artists could pitch their projects at the ‘drawing board’ stage, including the budget necessary to create the work, and then donations were crowd sourced from the web?
It could look a bit like this from the US.
- Does such a platform exist here in the UK?
- Could it?
- Should it?
A Crib Sheet
Workshops are fascinating and dangerous places. In the right hands they can produce things of great beauty and real lasting value. In the wrong hands they can do great damage and wreck lives.
The entrepreneur’s workshop is no different.
True enough; the tools in the entrepreneur’s workshop have no sharp edges, burning fires or high speed drills.
The entrepreneur’s tools are a set of ideas, principles, practices and habits that, applied with care and passion, can produce a wonderful lifestyle. Learn to use these tools properly and they will serve you well.
Misuse them and the consequences are likely to include debt, damaged relationships and misery.
10 of the most powerful tools in The Entrepreneur’s Workshop:
- The Truth Detector – How to decide what might work for you
- Want to or Have to…?
- The Double Edged Sword
- Getting Organised – doing what has to be done, and doing it well
- Entrepreneur Artisan or Artist?
- Have, Do, Become…
- Build a Team OR Do it All – the choice is yours
- The ‘investment ready’ Business Plan
- Situational Enterprise – the importance of technique and motivation
- Towards the Total Quality Enterprise – a tool to decide ‘What’s next?’
For more information contact Mike on 07788 747954