“It was not reason that besieged Troy; it was not reason that sent forth the Saracen from the desert to conquer the world; that inspired the crusades; that instituted the monastic orders; it was not reason that produced the Jesuits; above all, it was not reason that created the French Revolution. Man is only great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination.”
Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister and Novelist, 1804-1881
Nor is it reason, logic and a good business plan that helps a business succeed.
So spend less time developing the business plan and more time developing the vision, passion and skills.
It’s passion, energy, commitment and often a lot of luck that makes a business thrive.
With thanks to Andy Maslen for the quote!
My 15 year old daughter brought home a letter yesterday telling me about Industry Day:
In conjunction with our Work Related Learning programme, we have organised Enterprise Days in which all year 10 pupils will participate.
Hidden curriculum lesson 1: Enterprise is not about freedom of expression and choice – it is about complying with the policy dictats of bureaucrats. You’d better get used to following orders.
Teams of personnel from Industry will be coming into school to help run the days which aim to introduce pupils (to) aspects of Enterprise education.
Hidden curriculum lesson 2: Forget being a living, breathing person full passion, aspiration and imagination. Once you are in Industry (why the capital – Orwellian reference perhaps?) you are just personnel in teams. This way you don’t have to exercise any autonomy – you just have to follow orders. Enterprise is a bit like a strange cult – we will introduce you to some aspects. But others had best remain a mystery….
Hidden curriculum lesson 3: Understand the power of language to obfuscate and confuse. I am a professional in enterprise education and I have no idea what ‘aspects of Enterprise education’ are.
Activities will focus on developing skills such as team building and communication and will be an excellent preparation towards work experience and the world of work.
Hidden curriculum lesson 4: There is a thing called the ‘world of work’. It has laws, practices and ways of being that are different to the rest of society. You had better know how to conform.
Hidden curriculum lesson 5: If you struggle with team work and communication then the world of work/enterprise/Industry is not for you. You had better develop your potential to survive in other worlds. See Hidden curriculum lesson 14 below
Pupils will be working in teams and your child will take part in the Industry Day on one of the following days…
(and yes the first one is on April 1st – perhaps the whole thing is a spoof!)
Hidden curriculum lesson 6: There is little room for the individual in Industry. They had better learn how to smooth of the sharp edges and get along with people. We wouldn’t want too many ‘rugged individualists’ in Industry. Forget what George Bernard Shaw said about all progress depending on the unreasonable man. In industry we are polite, formulaic team players.
It is intended that pupils will not follow normal timings for the school day. The day will be as follows:
08:45am – Sign in at Reception
9.00am – Industry conference starts
10.50am – Break
11.10am – Conference resumes
1.00pm – Conference ends – pupils involved in the Industry Day should go home
Hidden curriculum lesson 7: The world of work is dominated by the bosses clock. You will do as you are told – when you are told. Because employers are benevolent you will get a break.
Hidden curriculum lesson 8: If we do not have enough for you to do you will be laid off early.
Hidden curriculum lesson 9: You had better get used to confernces in Industry. They are a lot like lessons – but longer.
In order to give the pupils a chance to experience some aspects of the world of work the pupils will be required to:
- wear appropriate clothing for business; for the boys this could be simply school trousers, white shirt and a different tie (The David Brent school of office dress then). For girls, an appropriate example would be their normal trousers or skirts and a plain top (as opposed to the haute couture that they usually wear to school). This should not, therefore involve extra expense and I would stress that this is definitely not a ‘non uniform’ day.
Hidden curriculum lesson 10: In the world of work you will be one of many clones – similarly dressed and equipped to deal with the challenges of the stationery cupboard. In the world of work we will continue to discriminate by gender.
- sign in at Reception by 9.00am. This will mean that for this day the pupils will enter through the main entrance.
Hidden curriculum lesson 11: We will confuse you by our ambiguity over timings. Although earlier we said that you could sign in at Reception at 08.45am – you must be signed in by no later than 09.00. Got it? Any non-compliance in the first instance will be dealt with by sarcasm. You should be clear that in the world of work though time-keeping is a tool of power and any difficulty you have with it could lead to severe disciplinary consequences
Hidden curriculum lesson 12: The world of work is obsessed with clocking in and clocking off on time – get used to it. Again forget autonomy, initiative and flexibility.
- behave in an appropriate, business-like manner and follow all instructions from the personnel running the Industry Days
Hidden curriculum lesson 13: Learn to moderate your behaviour when in the world of work. Understanding the mysteries of what constitutes ‘business-like’ could hold the keys to the kingdom of the corner office on the third floor.
Hidden curriculum lesson 14: There are alternatives to the ‘world of work’. These include the worlds of:
If the ‘world of work’ as experienced on Industry does not set your heart racing and your soul singing then perhaps one of these is right for you?
It is no wonder that so many highly committed educationalists who take the development of young people seriously are less than supportive when it comes to ‘embedding enterprise in the curriculum’.
If Enterprise champions are pedalling such ill-conceived and poorly thought through programmes they deserve to be left to their own devices.
My eldest daughter went through a similar programme last year. The highlight for her was the ‘Enterprise Wordsearch’. You have to love those teachers for their great sense of irony!
- the seeds of your (your clients) future are often sown early – go back to the early years to see if the basis for an enterprise were sown then
- just because it sells does not mean it is good – heroin is not better than tofu – even if it does shift more units – selling stuff is not the be all and all – truth and beauty matter too
- provoke, invoke, evoke – apparently John Lennon said that – not a bad JD for an enterprise coach either
- 5 years of crappy jobs and being on the dole – being on the dole were the ‘happy days’
- ‘ideas burning on the inside’
- managers/editors can leave you with tears streaming down your face and your soul ripped out and thrown on the floor
- the bad times provide the fuel and drive to allow the good
- an incessant streak of optimism helps – on being rejected by judges in a portrait competition Frazer chose to believe it was because he wasn’t important – ‘although it might have been because, then, I wasn’t very good’
- it takes a lot of time, training, passion and life experience to really master your subject
- great technology combined with great passion and skills produce remarkable, beautiful and important results
- sometimes you need someone to say ‘chin up – you will be alright’
- sometimes when your art is ripped off it gets you great new gigs – life-changing breaks…
- be a slave to the muse – let the story dictate the style – if the story is trivial don’t expect to get great results
- it is really about finding out who you are and what you can become – enterprise is about the emergence of identity – the process of becoming…
- treat me as a ‘pencil monkey’ and you will get mediocrity
- in the comic world a lot of bad product is there because of poor management – comics and every other industry on the planet – management is perfectly designed to get the results it gets
- if it is bad it is (nearly always) because the managers/editors have put the wrong people on the job
- if you have recruited the wrong people then forcing them to compromise WILL lead to mediocrity
- recruit great talent carefully and then trust it to deliver on its own terms – not yours
- when your hobby becomes your job – you get another hobby
- musicians jam and sometimes the results are great – what is the jamming equivalent for you?
- be careful about your reputation – one person saying you might not hit a deadline in a public forum can be a killer
- sometimes it is best not to claim the credit for all your ideas
- it really is full of ups and downs – but you come out of the downs with even more resources – psychological and technical if not financial
This was a great networking event – convivial atmosphere – great facilities – good food – great speakers and good management.
If only all networking opportunities were this good!
Most enterprise support services are designed around the assumption that if the entrepreneur has the right business idea (one that is ‘viable’) then they can be helped to make a successful business from it. It is the quality of the idea that is central and we develop the entrepreneur around it.
This is putting the cart before the horse:
Most entrepreneurs make money out of plans b, c, d or z rather than plan A. However it is plan A that they love at the moment – and if you want to work with them positively this is the plan that you will have to help them to explore and develop. If you do your job well they will make the right decision about whether to put it into practice or not – and learn a lot in the process. Building the entrepreneur is more important than building the business.
Entrepreneurs are not born – they are made. They learn how to act, think and make decisions that are entrepreneurial. ‘If you disagree then let’s pop down to the maternity ward and you show me the borne entrepreneurs’. Our job in developing an enterprise culture is to build the skills and commitment of would be entrepreneurs so that they keep developing and evaluating ideas until they find the right one for them. This process of choosing the right idea to invest time and money in is the really enterprising bit. This is where the gold is and the value can be added.
- So why do we put so much time and effort into helping people to refine ideas instead of in having more ideas?
- Why don’t we encourage people to be dispassionate about their ideas – until they have courted enough to be REALLY passionate about the one they love?