In the mid of my Fifty’s I’m taking a new course of action, packed with management theory and thought leadership out of 30 years in consulting it should be easy to launch a new business. Even if this is in the countryside, in a hide away far from business noise and daily rush. That’s what I thought in Summer 2019.
After endless corporate strategy discussions in the last years where everybody preaches collaboration but lean in only when it comes to silos and well known networks, I saw the opportunity to create a specific location, space and sphere with one single mission: To improve Collaboration in Management and its impact in a changing world.
How this space now looks like I will share with you soon but first experience in launching the business taught me some Lessons on all the management theory I believed in.
“Things do not happen, Things are made to happen” is not only a quote of J.F. Kennedy but as well established in almost every performance and KPI System I did see in corporate cultures. Leading into an extraordinary activism in which I am as well are a master in.
Now being in North Frisia, a region where the sky is more essential than the landscape, the unexpected change of clouds, wind, rain, sun, hail, calm .. and the smart way in how frogs, birds and many other animals do use all conditions as an opportunity does teach a new perspective. There are things you cannot control, they just happen, and it is better to follow the flow and shape it in a needed direction. Like the muskrat I watched the other day using the opportunity of a falling sheet to paddle a bit in a sewer.
Be liquid and smart and purpose driven, agile of course just to use some of the phrases I wanted to apply in my new business. How liquid can a liquid workforce be if you launch a new business? I started with 90% and experienced I ended up being my own assistant, kept on training new on demand people and the administration was endless. Somebody must connect all the dot’s and even remember them which led me to only 10% of on demand workforce and a high fixed payroll. And I still do not understand in how to pay all the bills being purpose driven. I remember Milton Friedmann’s phrase that the one and only responsibility of a company should be generating profit, and this helps with the bills. Finally, instead of leveraging artificial intelligence or extended reality I wished I would have a better network connection in the field, and I cannot believe that 6 month ago I thought about the post digital area. One needs to get some basics right while Liquid, Smart, Purpose and Agile might come later.
Multitasking, always accessible and speed in getting things done drove me forward and characterized my core habit many years. Even memorizing myself not to waste time on low priority items. Suddenly I experience that conversations with farmers, construction workers or natural reserve ranger can be looked at as a strategic side gig. In taking on extra tasks completely outside of my business and strategic priority I am developing a broader perspective which helps me not only to recharge but to drive better decisions. I am not longer talking about wasting my time but treat it like a strategic side gig. The slogan of an old earworm is coming into my mind…. “how much good time I ‘have been wasting, having good time…”
Here I am and it is only Spring 2020, looking into the marshland.