Good morning – and Happy New Year. I hope you had a truly splendid Christmas – and a less than savage hangover when you woke up on Sunday morning.
And to start the New Year…a bit of philosophy.
This is now a mature blog. You’re reading post no. 79 – so the blog is no longer a child trying to find its feet. It’s not a pimply teenager trying to sort out what it believes in. The blog is a reflection of my values and beliefs. So what are they? And more importantly, what does that mean for you? What will I be trying to help you achieve in 2012?
First and foremost, my philosophy – and that of the entire Alternative Board organisation – is that your business is there to provide you with what you want out of life. And like all good planning, it flows backwards: it’s the second of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits – ‘begin with the end in mind.’
• What life do you want to live?
• What stage does your business need to reach to provide you with that life?
• Where are you now?
• So what needs to happen?
Being in business at any time – never mind the current mire that we’re all wading through – is difficult. So you need to be rewarded for running a business and damn it, you are entitled to be rewarded!
I also believe that you should enjoy being an entrepreneur: however weighed down you might feel by the latest diktats from health & safety or compliance, believe me – there are millions of people out there who would swap places with you in an instant.
Third point – and this has been a recurring theme ever since I started the blog – whatever needs to happen, only one person is going to make it happen. And we all know who that is.
But the good news is, it’s within your power. There is not a person sitting round an Alternative Board table; there is no-one reading this blog who doesn’t have the talent and the capacity to make 2012 a truly memorable year. As I’ve said many times, you can spend the next New Year’s Eve thinking could’ve-should’ve-would’ve…or you can open the champagne, kiss the ones you love and look back on a fantastic year. To borrow the best advertising slogan of all time, ‘Just do it.’
…And remember that you’re in it for the long haul. As I wrote a few weeks ago – we’re in a privileged position. No-one is going to come along and tell us it’s time to retire: that whether we’ve achieved our goals or not, the game’s over. So I believe you should plan your business and make your decisions based on being around for a long time.
Hand in hand with that goes ethics. The first business book I ever read was Up the Organization by Bob Townsend and I still remember one of the quotations: “apart from playing poker on a Friday night, don’t lie and don’t try to fool people.”
Maybe I’m just a bit old-fashioned but it seems to me there’s a right and wrong way of doing things, and when I finally do decide to retire, I want to know that I’ve done it the right way.
One of my fundamental reasons for that is simple: I’m a role model for my children. And no, they don’t have a clue what goes on at work – but I do, and how can I look my kids in the eye if I’m not behaving ethically? Which brings me back to my first point, and to the reason most of us do what we do.
Your business is there to give you the lifestyle you want: for me, and for virtually every one of my Board members and colleagues as well, an integral part of that comes back to my work/life balance. As someone said to me last year: “I’m absolutely determined that my business is going to be a success. And I’m just as determined that I’ll be there on Sports Day.”
A fine sentiment to start the New Year. Let’s do it…