I am a member of Entrepreneurs Organization and as a member I can visit the Universities that EO is organising twice a year. The first university of 2015 was in New York and the theme was ‘Transform the Narrative’.
Being a week in New York with almost 1000 successful entrepreneurs from all over the world has given me enough inspiration to continue with transforming the narrative of of my company, the people I work with (my fellow travellers) and the industry we are in.
First the theme of the university explained in more detail (taken from the event website):
“We live in a world of narratives. Much like fish, unaware they are enveloped by water, we are surrounded by narratives. These are the stories that tell us how the world works and describe our place in it.
As entrepreneurs, we operate within the narratives of our time. But we are also the drivers of change. We create new story lines with every innovation and endeavour we pursue. The EO New York Global University will explore the fundamental narratives that dominate our entrepreneurial lives today. We will challenge our community of entrepreneurs to explore the issues most critical to their business, family and personal lives.
Today, we are approaching tipping points in the most consequential narratives of our lifetime:
- Technological advancements like the “internet of things” are driving the marginal costs of goods and services to near zero, while the collaborative commons and the rise of the sharing economy are challenging capitalism as the organizing framework of economic activity. What opportunities are being created during this shift? Who will capitalize on what comes next?
- Global population growth, income inequality, climate change and sectarian conflicts have been straining the current system of global governance, driving apocalyptic narratives. How can we transform these narratives to address the coming changes as opportunities rather than crises?”
Everybody has his or her own interpretation of these big changes the world is going through and how to adapt yourself and your company towards these changes. As entrepreneurs we are able to create our own stories of how we see the world and where it is going to. From a company that sells domains and SSL we are transforming into a company that gives opportunities to our customers and our fellow travellers to grow their businesses and pursue their personal goals in life. Innovation of our software platform and business model will be continuously going on and on and on. We have great respect for the different cultures and different ideas that our fellow travellers have. In life we have to realise that prejudice is everywhere but that we have to look at the whole story to know what is really going on in peoples life and why they do what they do and behave like they behave. There is a great Tedx video of the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie – The danger of a single story that you should watch to understand what I mean and why it is important to think like this. The world is changing rapidly and so should you to stay relevant.
Sometimes you have to cannibalise your own business in order to stay relevant and we are not scared to do this. Making money is important to be able to make sure that the fellow travellers in my company can live a high quality life and succeed in achieving their personal goals and ambitions in life. Profit is for us a result of Why, What and How we do things but not a goal in itself. We follow and implement the ideas of the book The Big5 for Life by John Strelecky. The general idea is that the people in a company work there to achieve their personal goals in life. Those personal goals should be in synch with the company goals in order to have motivated fellow travellers. What is more motivating than working in a company that gives you the opportunity to work on your personal goals everyday because the company goals are in line with your own? And what is more demotivating than working in a company that just pays you to do something you do not like or does not contribute to your own goals in life? If you are in such a situation get out, change your own narrative and pursue your dreams elsewhere!
Change is scary, it is fun but above all it is necessary. Be creative, think different and transform the narrative!