Business Beautiful #9
Our focus at Wow over the past few months has been on re-energising. Re-energising ourselves and having a bit of a reset as an organisation.
At the start of this summer, we’d been working flat out for over a year like many other businesses. Our team had been first responders to many business owners uncertain as to what the future would hold. Over time this took its toll, and we had a lot of weary people. So over the summer, everyone at Wow took a half-day off on Wednesdays to recharge and re-energise. The good news is that it worked! We sat down as a team in September to take stock of what we’d learnt over the past 18 months and work out where we wanted to go together.
We’re all really excited about what we have planned for the coming months and years – and I hope to have news to share with you soon.
The big lesson from all of this for me personally was the importance of monitoring and managing energy levels across our business. This Harvard Business Review article on managing your energy more effectively is a good read.
Near the end of his life, I asked (Steve Jobs) about the meaning of all this. He said that he’d learned … that life is like a river. At first, you think that if you’re successful, you get to take many things out of the river, products people have made or ideas they’ve come up with. But he said, Eventually in life, you realize that it’s not what you get to take out of the river, it’s what you get to put into the river.
Walter Isaacson on The Knowledge Project podcast.
What’s making us wonder….
It feels that we’re in a new phase. Even if the pandemic isn’t over, many are behaving as if it is. This is leading to a couple of trends we’re observing:
- Businesses are feeling significantly more confident about taking longer-term decisions, especially investment decisions.
- There’s a spike in people looking to exit their businesses.
Opportunities lie within both trends. What’s making me wonder is whether or not, amidst this all, there’s an opportunity for a fairer, more inclusive business world to emerge. For example, we all saw the power of community in the early stages of the pandemic, and I believe there’s an opportunity to harness this energy. Doughnut Economics offers a framework for thinking about this – suggesting we develop ‘regenerative’ business models, not just ‘sustainable’ ones. (Sadly, the framework says nothing about actually eating doughnuts!)
In case you missed it, we also produced this guide to Opportunities in a Post Pandemic World.
The pandemic will lead to a giant productivity boom. Every business can now do whatever they like, run experiments, start from scratch and have the perfect excuse: COVID
Marc Andreesen, a16z.
On our minds….
We’re thinking a lot about what’s next for our team at Wow. As well as planning as a team, we’re also looking closely at individual development. For many of us, much of the past 18 months has been about survival (or at least successfully dealing with what’s been thrown at us). Many individuals have shown what they’re really capable of during the pandemic. As we surface, there’s a strong argument (and arguably an obligation) to reward those people with opportunities of their own. As a leader, there are few things more satisfying than seeing your team rise up…..and often do a better job than you!
This resource from First Round Review, The Habits of Highly Effective Managers has been very useful for us.
Inspired by ‘Discipline #1: Focus on the wildly important’ from Sean Covey’s ‘The Four Disciplines of Execution’, one question that might be useful to share with your team is: What’s the most important thing for you to achieve (as a team and individually) between now and Christmas?
What’s making us smile….
The free online classes available through an Ivy League school and find it via the Class Central search engine.
Yung Pueblo’s new book Clarity & Connection. It’s filled with beautifully crafted short extracts that will make you think and reflect.
This awesome thread from Lucy Hughes at Rise at Seven that shares 24 underrated websites – there are some gems in there.
What we’re reading…
We’ve bulk-bought John Amaechi’s ‘The Promises of Giants’ as part of our work developing our future leaders at Wow. I can’t recommend this book highly enough as a framework for all leaders – old and new. These aren’t your standard leadership lessons. This book is a challenge to all of us to maximise our own potential and inspire others and to do so more fairly and inclusively.
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