This is a wonderful 10 minute speech by Brian Brault, Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, during a United Nations Global meeting on how Entrepreneurship can make a difference to the UN Developmental Goals.
Creating a Shared Future for Entrepreneurs and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
I have met Brian several times over the last 13 years that I have been a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation. He is an inspiration and I am glad that he had this opportunity to share such an important message to the world’s ambassadors and governments.
April Abboud is a successful American entrepreneur who has moved to the Middle East. She gave up the business she grew, the culture she knew and having family close by to start a family in a land thousands of miles away. She has chosen to challenge herself all through her life.
April was recently asked to be the Moderator and Welcoming Speaker for the regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. She shared a powerful story about the need for each of us to face difficulties in our lives:
The Man who Helped the Butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
It stopped moving. It seemed to have stopped making progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
The man decided to help. He took a pair of scissors and cut off the remaining cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily.
The butterfly had a sluggish, swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly. He waited for the wings to grow and expand to be able to support the body. He waited for the body to shrink to the beautiful proportions of a butterfly.
He waited. Neither happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
The butterfly never was able to fly.
The Universe is Wise
The man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand nature. The restricting cocoon and the struggle is necessary. As the butterfly squeezes through the tiny opening, fluid from the body is forced into its wings. This long, tiring, intense struggle for escape is necessary for the butterfly to fly once it fights its way to freedom from the closed cocoon.
This is not only the nature of butterflies. It is the nature of life. It is our nature. If we do not have adversity and strife on our journey we cannot carry the weight that our dreams require of us. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them in a way that they could never go back to the person they once were. Some understand this difficulty for what it really is: Growth.
As an entrepreneur, I have often made the choice to travel the road less taken, one filled with uncertainty and fear. I dare to make the world a better place and somehow along the way find the courage to believe in my wings and let myself fly.
We must give ourselves permission to accept the struggles, for in them we find our true original, authentic self.
To those who crawl around swollen with desire we become leaders. Fierce are those with restrictions, strengthened by their journey, that not only find their wings but take to flight.
I was in Washington DC the last 6 days teaching on the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Leadership Academy 2016. We had 28 leaders from all around the world – China, Nepal, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Canada, Germany, Australia, USA, UK. The White House was being prepared for the inauguration of the next US President.
Christophe Magnussen is an inspiring entrepreneur from Germany. We made a short video up on the roof of our hotel, overlooking the winter evening sky of Washington DC.
I recently posted about the 4 paths of our working lives – and one path is Quit and Stayed. These category of people are those who have emotionally given up on their jobs, but they still keep sending their body in to sit at the desk and collect a salary.
Ridgely shared statistics on the impact of disengaged employees on a company.
An indifferent employee costs you $2,246 per year according to Gallup. An actively disengaged employee costs you more than $25,000.
33% of American employees change jobs every year. 90% leave jobs for reasons to do with “attitude“, not skills.
Recruiting expert Brad Smart (author of Topgrading) shares evidence that 1 bad hire costs a company 5 times their salary (and 10-15 times for senior hires)
Apart from the financial cost, there is a painful emotional cost for all those who must work in close proximity to this disengaged individual – they suck your passion. I know that the best way to increase team performance is to remove the disengaged team members.
According to the AONHewitt definition, engaged employees want to:
Stay (intent to stay with the organisation)
Say (speak highly of the organisation to others) and
Strive (make an discretionary effort to deliver results)
Ridgely shared that engaged employees deliver:
37% less absenteeism and turnover
48% fewer safety accidents
41% fewer safety defects
21% higher productivity
22% higher profitability
How do we Achieve a Culture of Engagement?
Ridgely explained that people are different and seek to express themselves in different ways. If we try to be everything for everybody, we end up frustrated and wasting our time.
Do you understand the different personalities of the people that you work with? I have done so many psychological tests that I assume that everyone knows these tools (I studied psychology at university…). When I was 14, my father brought home a Myers-Briggs test and did it on all of the family.
What about you? What are you? What types do you get frustrated by?
The Why types
Ridgely worked through a short coaching process where each participant was able to identify their primary “why” from a list of 9 “Whys”. The 9 whys are:
By the way, I came out as a 7 – Master. My “why” is to seek mastery and understanding above all else.
Infographic: Employee Engagement
One of the challenges of important life lessons is that we need to be reminded every day. Now that I have just written a blog post about how people are different, I am primed to not over-react when I meet someone who is a “5 – Right Way” and has a constant focus on what the precedent is, what is proven, what is low risk… all perspectives that I find tiring. However, tomorrow I will forget and will overreact again.
What can company leaders do to create a culture where we actively seek to empathise with each person’s primary purpose?
I found an infographic that describes the problem of employee disengagement and 6 things that CEOs can do to create engaged employees. Click on the infographic to get a large version. (Personally, I think that the yellow colour scheme is a bit aggressive):
Inspire employees through purpose
Align employees behind your strategy
Develop line managers
Be Fair (in process, in resource distribution, in relationships)