The Qualified Self

Quantified self

Since a few years its possible to measure all kind of data about your health with your mobile Phone or a fitness band around your wrist. So you know how many steps you have taken, how many stairs, measuring your sleep cycle, calories burnt etc. So your little computer is telling you if you are healthy by reaching a certain amount of numbers.

This quantified self is not new as it is still based on numbers and thus based on old school logic. Like measuring output numbers is the classification of your health? This principle is not a new shift, but an advancement which is made possible by new type of sensors and better software. But should we be measured by numbers?

Qualified self

The next (real) shift could be the qualified self. Where you will be measured on qualitative input instead of quantitative numbers. Like measuring your happiness level, hormones, glucose, smiling muscles, talking sound, hours of silence etc. So based on biological and behavioral “measurements” and not on output numbers. But what conclusions or recommendation’s will your app present from this?

The next self

So why not combine quantified data and qualified info? Use this input and connect this with Artificial Intelligence. This as we seem not smart enough to interpret the presented data into valuable and sensible conclusions. So this next app will tell you in the morning how you will feel that day and what you should be doing accordingly to be healthy and perform at your best.

The real self

Using all these tools could bring us far away from our core DNA as a human being. Do we need data and apps to know if we are all right, be healthy, living accordingly etc.? Do we need a tool, to know about our existence?

The other choice, (yes, it is still a choice) to skip all of this and go back to nature. To feel again, to know thyself, and feel in your guts if it’s okay. To “know” you exercised enough, you had your limit’s of alcohol. To know and feel that you are your own god.

This blog-article is the first in a sequence about future scenarios

 

Failure is an option!

Failure is an integrated part of our business-life. During your endeavors you might encounter problems, but does this mean you failed? When a project did not finish successfully, or a product is not selling, does this mean you totally failed as a business-person? No, it might be a major setback but it’s not the end of the world. It’s a learning point. And that’s how you should treat failure.

Failure in some cultures is seen as a life enhancer, as a needed experience to perform better in the future. For instance in the USA it’s seen as an essential part of your resume, while in my country The Netherlands, it’s not common to talk about your failures. For example when you lost your job, experienced bankruptcy or a failed project. So let me start: I failed big time with my previous company last year. I’m divorced (sort of failed project 😉 ) and more. But does this make me a bad person? Hell no!

So first we could change our perception about this concept of failure, and focus on the road how to improve ourselves. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. You could see it like this: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, “this didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else”

So how to deal with failures? Some tips:

  1. Try to break the patterns in your life to avoid making the same mistakes twice. Start with changing your bad habits. Your changed behavior will give much more results and rewards then trying to solve external factors.
  2. Be honest to yourself and do not flea to avoid problems. Face them and solve problems if needed. Possibly with help from some friends, colleagues or hire a coach to drag you out this unwanted situation.
  3. Share your thoughts and information in whatever way you feel comfortable with
  4. Be flexible and open to learn. And yes sometimes you will be vulnerable. But what´s the worst thing that could happen? Really….
  5. Know that there’s no such thing as a truly perfect moment to move forward. So why wait for one? Taking action turns all your worry and concern about failure into positive, focused energy.
  6. We can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag us down. It’s you choice and your life!

Did you experience the dark side already and what are your lessons learned? Please let me know!

 

Innovation by diversity

Diversity is about having different people in your team. This can function as a catalyst to drive innovation.

Diversity is having many different elements in the mix, many different experiences, many different perspectives, many different skills. This diversity can be in personal perspective: talent, gender, culture, experiences and more. But also about collaborating with people from (completely) different sectors or even countries.

Diversity can be a good thing to strive for: Studies show there seems to be a strong connection between innovation, creativity and diversity. These different people give in much more input from various points of view you didn’t had before. People with different lifestyles and different backgrounds challenge each other more.

But how do you empower diversity and what are the criteria to make it work?

  • Leaders who give diverse voices equal airtime are nearly twice as likely as others to unleash establish a culture in which all team members feel free to contribute ideas
  • Value-driving insights
  • CEO should approach diversity as a (personal) mission by:
    • Advocating Collaboration
    • Swimming Upstream is allowed
    • Strengthening Cultural Intelligence 
    • Enabling New Ideas

The outcome will be more innovative ideas from within your team. For example to find a more competitive advantage. By finding a better understanding of your customer needs, to adjust your offering in the different markets. The second advantage of diversity is will also result in better motivation and cohesion between team members and relations.

So what do you do mix these days?

Focus on positive assets

As we live in a more upward time lately, I would strive for a more positive approach about how to change for making progress. Changes how you as a person can improve yourself and also how a business can make progress, in a more effective and sustainable manner.

My suggestion would be to (perhaps with my help) find your positive assets, and work with these elements, instead of trying to solve the negative aspects because the positive approach is simply more effective and pleasant.

An example of a negative approach is turn-around management. A method or vision which tries to change things around by giving all energy to solve the problems by focusing on the negative elements. While there is also the opposite method to focus on the positive assets and work from here.

With this positive focusing, it’s not said that you should forget or ignore the less positive assets, but the point is that in the end this will bring you faster and better results, instead of trying to change the negative ones. Let me give you a few reasons why positive focusing is more beneficial:

Positive energy: No one who produces results, will want to surround themselves with a complainer. Those with positive outlooks who consistently deliver results will want to be around others with the same trait.  That kind of negative energy will drag them down, which is the last thing that positive people want.

Resources: positive business cases are more at hand, and the proper information will be faster accessible.

Attitude: people are more willing to change, based on positive concepts and goals. Such a positive environment encourages also innovation and has a positive effect on employee attitudes and morale, and can help employees in a business creating new opportunities.

Costs: project loss or delays, will occur less and result in better insights and faster results. This leads to lower costs in relation to related revenue.

Results: increases the efficiency of work processes, which can result in more satisfied customers as well as employees. The impact of positive change is effecting the organization as well the individuals.

Happy Business!

 

Choose progress over innovation

Two buzzwords these days seem to be trending: innovation and start-up. Like every NEW development is the solution, the Holy Grail towards success. This new NEW is an external goal and has no foundation or relation to the quality of your own business-life.New things or innovations are per definition not the solution. And which problem is behind this solution? Do you have actually a real problem? Or is it just a restless feeling because you think you will be too late following the latest trends. But everyone else is doing this! So what!? But first you have to ask yourself what is actually the problem? (if so…) please ask yourself honestly why you want to pursue these trends and if you fully believe in it.

Instead choose progress as your goal, and not chasing the innovation hype. Progress is making little steps by learning, and discovering how to reach your horizon. Making it a little better every day by increasing more value to your offering. This is growing and making progress the intrinsic way. Innovation as a vehicle cannot be your goal to grow. Choose progress instead, and if in the end innovation is necessary, please do so with a good reason.

Business recycling

 

In 2000 B.C. (Before Crisis) there were some good budgets available to start a new project. This could be for entering new markets, new product development, to have a new software system, or building a new meeting space. Basically a large part of these kind of projects started with the word “new”.

Now we’re living in a period of scarcity, and no big budgets are available anymore. This luxury position is scarce now and thus we have to find new ways not only to start new projects, but also for the reason of improvement. (the positive word for trying to solve problems) This new situation pushes us to find different solutions. (some call this even innovation…)

Instead of looking at the outside world and buying tools or hiring people to “getting things done”, based on big budgets, I challenge you to search for possibilities and solutions which are right in front of you, or at least in your close surroundings. In other words to use the assets you or your company already have. This I call Business Recycling.

Some examples: to find software applications and connect these into one useful system for your sales communications instead of buying a new CRM system. To get in touch with colleagues and ask them spending a few hours per month to help you with a new project, instead hiring an external. Ask your neighboring company to lend you their space to host a meeting, instead of building a new designed meeting room.

The benefit is not only a modern way of efficiency, but moreover a road to a different attitude in sharing and transparency.

What can you do to be more active in business recycling?

Company culture is underrated

When we talk about cultural differences we tend to think about differences in national cultures. But being involved in several projects with people from different backgrounds and sectors, I noticed that even within one country, there are some cultural hurdles to overcome. Within a country differences migth occur based on regional heritage, religion, history, local dialects and more.

But there is also the Company Culture. If we want know why some businesses are more successful than others, you might think about pragmatic or functional reasons, like a lower price or better technical specifications. But more important, a deal might be rewarded because both parties have a click. Like having the feeling this person, representing this company, will do as they promise.

And this is where the Company Culture is coming in. This is about how your organization handles things based on the norms and values in your enterprise. In more detail, it’s about the shared etiquettes, values, visions, beliefs and habits. It’s how you approach your work, your colleagues and in the end external stakeholders. You represent you company culture.

This Company Culture is formed during the history of your company by all present and new people to come in. Mostly it follows the changes during time, and is formed unintentionally. But please know you can influence this culture. By steering your company culture the outcome in business results might be higher as expected. According some studies it can improve results by 200% or more. So why not give your company culture more attention and focus?

What is the culture in your company, can you describe this?

Student Companies

As I’m active as a volunteer for the non-profit organization “Jong Ondernemen” (Young Entrepreneurship) I would like to share with you about the concept, of students running a company. This related to the topic that Entrepreneurship is for everyone.

Jong Ondernemen offer programs for students to setup, run, and close a company during a 1 year period. With real products, real money, financials, shareholders etc. The goal is of this program “learning by doing” so they will experience all aspects of company successes and failures. As a coordinator in my home town Den Bosch, I assist a college and a university, with 45 student groups representing 270 students which are participating in this great program.

If you like this idea why not see if there are possibilities in your region?

Entrepreneurship is the ideal vehicle to develop you character

Trading, or Entrepreneurship, is actually about coming out of your comfort zone. Working in or with areas you do not know at all, or are not quite familiar with. As such you have to make decisions which have unforeseen outcomes. This involves to take some risks, but as you have to proceed with your business and thus challenge yourself by making the right choices and go for it.It requires you to push your limits. Not only from yourself but also from the people around you, and this requires character. Not being stubborn but perseverance is key. Perform your tasks as required, even if you don’t feel like it. To follow your dream.

Please share what you had to overcome in business and to what your personal qualities you had to use. Also interested to know if this has lead to personal growth and the business results you have been expecting.

Entrepreneurship is for everyone

A lot of people are starting their business these days. Some out of curiosity, some because they think they know better as their boss, others because they invented a cool product or for other reasons.

Entrepreneurship or being a business person is not only for the rich, the smart trade people, or people with a big mouth, but also for groups of people that need some assistance or a little push in the right direction, like …

  • Personas in social unforseen circumstances
  • Students from high school to university
  • Elderly people
  • Unemployed people
  • People from abroad and Expat members
  • People with great technical skills but need some entrepreneurial assistance
  • Starters with great ideas
  • Creatives who want to market their product

Presently I’m developing a new Entrepreneurship program, specifically for these groups of people.

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