Fair business is niet voor softies
The big established order, the economists, the business management school graduates, the lobbyists, the banks and many others have left a sad legacy.
I deliberately say legacy as I hope that we, together, will bury the current form in the coming months, to bid it farewell and to consciously let the traditional ways of thinking become extinct. One can hope, not so?
In its place we will no longer follow any hip millennials (the next established order) that were proclaimed by that same old guard. No, we are finally going to do things entirely differently. Not for the purpose of renewal, but to carry out a major cleanup with rigorous decisiveness. Away with all the junk that clogs up our space and prevents us from breathing in healthy air that will feed and energise us. That keeps our life light and strong.
The softie and fair business; not a good match
My plea for fair business is simple. In order to engage in fair business you must dare to be authentic which means that you refuse to be a copycat. For this you need something that is very important, namely time. Time that can easily be found once you have decided to stop being part of the ‘old way of working’; meaning that you will never have to write an 80-page business plan, for example, from the day that you’ve made this decision. This should save about 3 months. You will also stop paying attention to the competition (I can see that this frightens you, but life will be so much more restful). You will sleep well and wake up rested because you will no longer be led by fear. When adding up the abovementioned you should gain about as much time as a sabbatical year!
If you are thinking: “If that were possible I would feel so much better about my work, about the balance in my life and about myself, but then again…, it surely can’t be that simple?”, I would advise you to jump in at the deep end.
Continuing the current way of working and learning; a slow suicide
You will use the time gained for running, cycling, going outside, listening to music, dancing, practising yoga, going to the theatre by yourself to watch a new cabaret performer, walking, visiting museums, the masseur, painting, travelling, sailing, skating, DIY, swimming or drinking coffee at a lovely sidewalk terrace in the city of your choice.
Stay with me here… I’m about to make a point.
I was asked by a contact here in The Netherlands recently to explain who or what
The Westminster Africa Business Group is. It stumped me for a minute. The most concise definition I could think of was: “The WABG is a network of people from business, political, educational and diplomatic spheres whose objective is to share experiences in Africa with the aim of helping individuals and organizations with their current and future endeavours on the continent.”
“The WABG is a network of people from business, political, educational and diplomatic spheres whose objective is to share experiences in Africa with the aim of helping individuals and organizations with their current and future endeavours on the continent.”
The problem with this definition, as happens when you try to distil any group down to a single sentence, is that it is far too simple to fully capture the essence of this eclectic mix of people. There are many networks active in the UK with the aim of promoting business ties with Africa: The Business Council for Africa, Developing Markets Associates (not restricted to Africa) and the British African Business Alliance to name just a few. Africa House London, of which Euro-Com International is the translation partner, is perhaps the most ambitious in terms of creating a network of industry leaders to advise companies from the UK in their attempts to trade directly in Africa, via their continuously developing platform.
“There is a war coming. As professionals in the Localization industry, we must realise that we are on the front lines and we need to fight back. Our industry is under attack.” **
As 2016 draws to an end, I have found myself reflecting on a year which I guarantee will be a popular answer in ‘Pub quizzes’ for generations to come. If a question is asked, and you find yourself clueless, there’s a strong statistical chance that ‘Chuck Norris’, or ‘2016’ will be a reasonable shot in the dark.
2016 has seen the tragic passing of so many cultural heroes; Mohamed Ali, Prince, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, Caroline Ahern, Terry Wogan, Leonard Cohen to name but a few. From a sporting point of view, it can legitimately be christened ‘The Year of the Underdog’: from Leicester City’s stunning 5000-1 scaling of the Premiere League, to The Chicago Cubs magically repealing their 108 year Curse of the Billy Goat, to Ireland finally overcoming the All Blacks (which took place in Chicago during their celebrations week…thanks Chicago!) after 111 years of hammerings and near-misses.
Over the last year we have watched in disbelief as the world has lurched from one crisis to another. Frankly, this year has felt like one continuous sh*t-storm. From domestic and international terrorist attacks, to streams of refugees fleeing wars and conflicts, to devastating storms and reports of climate change, we are primed to live on edge and in fear. Yet, statistically speaking, we are living in the safest and arguably most enlightened period in human history. However, in a year where “Post-Truth” has been declared the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year, it’s fair to say that statistics and facts have taken a backseat in the search for an overall narrative.
“Violence has been in decline for thousands of years, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in the existence of our species.” – Steven Pinker
Maybe the most important question of all…
By: Malon Hamoen-Giraldi
The students whose class I’ve currently joined have worked for months on my request for market research in respect of new business opportunities. They seem a bit uncertain when they look at me and I decide to break the ice by talking about something entirely different and by cracking a few jokes. If their non-verbal communication is anything to go by I think I’d better stop doing that. The tutor and I are sitting in the centre of the classroom and indicate that the presentation can start. A very elaborate explanation of figures and data follows, supported by PowerPoint. Thankfully, there is also a quiz challenging the tutor and I to share our thoughts on the result of their research. At first glance it all seems fine.
“Great results yet oh, so disappointed… Nothing wrong with it and still so boring… All the figures are there but nothing more.”
All of a sudden it stops and we can ask questions. I was surprised! These students were asked to dig into their creative abilities. I was hoping that they would develop areas that have never crossed our minds before! Yes, it was a rather broad assignment, and for that reason far from simple, but that is why it was such a challenging assignment for this group of people in particular: “Seek for secrets, seek for what isn’t there yet, be different, share your thoughts with me, travel far and off the beaten path!” This is what the questions I asked in respect of their presentation were mostly about: “Why did you stay within the boxes?” “Have you ever asked questions of people from within the discipline?” They were able to defend their point of view: “We asked experts, authorities, institutes. We had to assume that they know what it’s all about…” When the tutor continued questioning them it appeared that the students had suffered some resistance from the teachers. Which didn’t really surprise us. What we also knew, was that the teachers would have given their approval for the direction they wanted to take, but that they would have to fight hard for what they were trying to achieve. They kept going round in circles and repeated that they couldn’t fulfil the assignment because the teachers had opposed them. I believe them when they tell me they experienced it this way. There is no better school than having to deal with resistance, with constructive and non-constructive criticism, with – if you wish – methods that are not exactly educational. Having things presented to you on a silver platter, being handled with kid gloves, it doesn’t necessarily increase someone’s motivation and inspiration.
“Obstacles do not exist to be surrendered to, but only to be broken”
by Andrew Hickson
Have you ever discovered a dissonance between your expectations at work and what has been delivered in reality? If your answer to that is “no”, then I must assume you are Watson-like AI and are monitoring my writing since I slagged you off online a couple of months back (…and I’m sorry for that. I will learn to improve and will try not to disappoint you in the future). But for now, let’s assume you are human, in which case it’s a safe bet that you have been in a situation where your expectations have not been met, for one reason or another.
Before we start, I want a show of hands: have you ever read a Tony Robbins book, or seen a show, or quoted him? We’ll get back to this later…
A couple of weeks ago I was in London at a business trade show at the Excel Centre out in the Docklands. When I arrived at my Airbnb near the Excel Centre I looked out my window and was greeted by an amazing view of the O2 Arena (AKA: The Millennium Dome). The Dome project was conceived, originally on a somewhat smaller scale, under John Major’s Conservative government, and carried out by the Labour government elected in 1997 under Tony Blair (although it was greatly expanded in the size, scope and funding from the original Conservative plans). It also significantly increased expectations of what would be delivered. Just before its opening Blair claimed the Dome would be
“a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity.”