Here’s a true story:
I have a friend who once wrote JAMB about the same time as me. Back then, I asked him what course he wanted to read and he said “my guy, any course!” Well he read “any course”, he applied to “any school”. He graduated with “any grade”. And today’s he’s currently all over the place, looking for “any job”.
Some months ago, I was spending time with my nieces and so I got the chance to watch Tom and Jerry after so many years! It hit me: Do dogs really like bones, would they choose bones over meat? *laughs* the cartoon Tom and Jerry makes us believe that dogs love bones. But dogs actually prefer meat, they only take bones because they do not have a choice!
In life, choose to have a choice for even indecision is a decision not to decide.
The true meaning of life is to find your gift. But the purpose of life is to give it away. There’s a gift within you. Find it, make it work, make a living and make a difference in your life, your world and that of others from it. One of the best feeling is living purpose. I pray anyone reading this gets to have that feeling. Beyond knowing your purpose comes the will power, commitment and grace to follow through!
The power of a core identity and ideology is key. Everyday brands, people and organization leave an identity crises by derailing from their core purpose. In Neuro linguistic Programming, there is something called the concentrated power of will. The truth is, if you focus on that thing, “When you give yourself into something, that thing will always give itself back to you”. If you are not focused, if you can’t define where you are going to, then everywhere you get to would look like it. Purpose is the ‘why’ in what you want to do. In an enterprise or team, purpose is also finding out what each members of your team is good at. And then putting them in the positions that makes your work more productive and efficient while bringing out the best in them.
Whether life or business, don’t judge a fish by its ability to fly and a bird by its ability to swim, instead use them by their right purpose (strengths).
I had an interesting chat with a client who is atheist and he gave me a non-religious definition of hell. He said “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”
There’s nothing more important than finding that person you are meant to be. It will help you find heaven even while on earth. And the best time is now that you can. I found mine early and that purpose is to help people find theirs too, and then help build their whole life and business around it with basic steps. To me, whether as an individual or corporate entity, the 5 steps to building a life, business and brand from a deeper sphere of purpose in what you do is as follows:
- Purpose Identification
- Product Specialization
- Brand Differentiation
- Market segmentation
- Community Concentration
When you identify your purpose (which comes from a place of passion and competitive advantages); a hybrid of what you love to do, do effortlessly and can do better than most people), you have to commercialize or productize it. Just the way a good song is meant to be a hit and a star player is supposed to win games, who you are is supposed to aid your living, profitably, from revenue to impact. It’s a thing of joy to see yourself make a living from what you love, charge a fee for what you could naturally do for free. That is product specialization from purpose identification. After this, you have to ensure it become a brand. Not every product is a brand but every brand is a product. The truth is that the only thing more important than what you are selling is what the buyer believe he is buying -BE BRANDED. Create a unique and alluring identity that is consistent with how you truly want to be seen as. So many people are consistently inconsistent with where they want to be. A step ahead is Market Segmentation and Community Concentration. You can’t sell and appeal to everyone so choose your market. You can either use demography or psychographics to carve out your niche
People say it’s not easy to definitely find purpose. I totally agree. My response usually is, while you’re searching for your purpose, find passion. Do your current work that might not be your purpose with that passion and you’d find purpose. After you do, it has to be built through consistency to attain a place of skill and then mastery from it. Brands need to develop that interest and passion they have till a point where they can’t go wrong as a result of the level of expertise developed in that thing. Amateurs practice till they get it right, but pros practice till they can`t get it wrong. This is through a set of cumulative advantages that can only come over time. In medicine, by Corpus Collosum, it has been proven that the cell arrangement and structure between your left and right brain is forever altered to perform differently, after about 10 000 hours of practice on the same thing. At that point, our neural pathways of habits are rewritten to align with that purpose, at that point what you do becomes a part of you, effortlessly. It’s called Mastery. You will be called a highflyer.
When you look at our heroes, great brands and people, what you can summaries how they got to that status is will be Focus. When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett, it was at a dinner hosted by Gates’ mum. She asked everyone around the table to identify what they believed was the single most important factor in their success through life. Gates and Buffett gave the same one-word answer: Focus!
It`s the Outliers, 10 000 hours concept, the Greek myth of “The fox versus the Hedgehog”. The problem is, we don’t know what the problem. Most people just don’t stay long enough. Consistency is key. And its synonyms include focus, discipline, routine and practice. Develop the good habits that lead to success. Just showing up is 80% of success. Some people just don’t show up. You can beat them pretty easily by just being consistent in showing up. The problem with growth for most people and organization is that they are not focused enough to follow through with work. There’s nothing you dedicate and give your whole self into that it doesn’t give itself back to you. There’s nothing you progressively spend your 10 000 hours on that you won’t become a master and success in.
In the book Good to great, Jim Collins relates this through a story that compares the fox and the hedgehog. While the fox is swift and creative in the jungle, it however has no focus, so doesn’t seem to have an ideology or one master trick that works so ends up in failure. But the Hedgehogs (unlike foxes) are focused and have mastered an art, on the other hand, it has simplified all that they know, have and do from a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything all through. They seem to have a template for having the same results over and over again. In other words, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” So even in defense against the wild, the Hedgehog always triumphs over the fox. This Hedgehog concept now is adapted in management and boardroom as a key strategy. That is having a simple, crystalline concept that flows from deep understanding about the intersection of three circles: 1) what you/the organization are deeply passionate about, 2) what you and your organization can be the best in the world at, and 3) what best drives the economic or resource engine. Transformations from good to great come about by a series of good decisions made consistently with a Hedgehog Concept, supremely well executed, accumulating one upon another, over a long period of time. .”
Whether individual or corporates, those who build great things can be seen to sort of have the personality or corporate culture of a Hedgehog. They seem to have an ideology, a central thought and concepts that guides most of their actions in line with their strategic intents. Those who live the average life or comparison to average companies tended to be foxes, never gaining the clarifying advantage of a Hedgehog Concept, being instead scattered, diffused, and inconsistent.
There is a scarce but very effective template for growth and sustainability. And its defining first who you are and where you want to be. And then if it`s in the case of an individual, cascaded through the triad realms of the spirit- mind- body relationship. Graphically see it as a can be drawn as a pyramid which is quite a metaphor for the corporate level-business level- operational level strategy pyramid of the corporate and enterprise system. It is also metaphorical to the BSQ Pyramid- Think Big, 2. Act Small, 3. Move Quick layers otherwise called the BSQ model.
Just like how the most strategic and topmost level part of our lives is the spiritual cascading itself to the mind where the light from the spirit manifests itself mainly as insights, concept and ideas and then executed in the bodily as physical activities. When things go wrong in the physical, it’s always a fault originated by the mental realm which could have been sorted out if there was a more functional spirituality directing it. Clearly we all know that physical directions can always be better driven by being more in touch with the Stellar cosmic and celestial environment, same way a team’s business level operations can always be better driven by the right corporate level strategy to get back in check. Don’t leave a gap between these layers. The BSQ model also can be a pyramid like that.
Think Big is about defining your ultimate goal backed by that core ideology you must have–a major top level accomplishment that you’re after. Act Small is the series of milestones you set that you must hit along the way. Move Quick is the timeline and targets in numbers to count your score you put in place to follow. Don’t leave a gap. Like a pyramid, they all feed through each other in a top down diffusion mechanism. Leave no joints. Be consistent. Most people are consistently inconsistent with where they consistently want to be. Be different, be consistent.
Strategy. Business StartUps and Corporate Restructuring Consulting
Uwaoma Eizu is the lead strategist at Hexavia! He is a graduate of Mathematics with two MBAs and over a decade of experience working with startups and big businesses. His core is in building startups and in corporate restructuring. He is also a certified member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and the Project Management Institute, USA. By the side, he writes weekly for the BusinessDay newspaper.