Recently I scrolled through Netflix, and stumbled across this exceptional documentary directed by Torquil Jones. Produced by Noah Media Group, Little Monster Films and Torquil Jones with Nirmal Purja, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Vasarhelyi as executive producers. The film follows Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja, and his team as they attempt to climb all 14 eight-thousander peaks within a world record time of under 7 months.
The documentary follows a plan by Nepali high-altitude climber Nirmal Purja, (a former member of the Gurkhas and the Special Boat Squadron (SBS)) to climb all of the world’s 14 highest peaks with an altitude greater than 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) (called eight-thousanders) in less than 7 months. The actual climbing took 6 months and 6 days between April 2019 to October 2019. The first person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders was Italian climber Reinhold Messner who took 16 years between 1970 and 1986 and completed the feat without the use of supplementary oxygen.
By 2013, the feat had been achieved in 7 years and 310 days by South Korean climber Kim Chang, who also did not use supplementary oxygen. Purja decided to use oxygen above 7,500 metres (24,600 ft) for Project Possible based on prior experiences when not using oxygen on past eight-thousander climbs would have stopped him from saving the lives of stricken climbers (something he ended up doing several times during the project).
The documentary begins in April 2019, with Purja attempting Annapurna, statistically, the most dangerous eight-thousander. Purja joins with Canadian climber Don Bowie who has failed several times on the Annapurna. However, Purja encourages Bowie to come with his team and they are successful summiting on 23 April, with Bowie saying “This guy believed they were gonna do it, and they pushed through and achieved what before now, I have only ever attempted and failed“.
However, success was very short-lived, as the following day, Purja returns up the mountain to rescue a stricken climber (later identified as Malaysian climber Wui Kin Chin). The rescue meant Purja lost his “weather window” for Dhaulagiri, which his team summits in extremely bad weather on 12 May. Purja then summits Kanchenjunga on 15 May in a single 22-hour push passing all base camps. While descending from the summit, at 8,450 m (27,720 ft) and still in the death zone, Purja and his team encounter two stricken Indian climbers; despite giving them all their oxygen and waiting for 12 hours for help which is continually promised, but never arrives. Eventually one tragically dies in Purja’s arms, while the other succumbs later back at camp 4 – During this, Purja suffers HACE (a medical condition in which the brain swells with fluid because of the physiological effects of travelling to a high altitude) helping a third lost climber, and yet fights on, knowing the other climber is reliant on him, and leads them both successfully back to basecamp!
Significantly behind schedule and questioning himself after the deaths on Annapurna and Kanchenjunga, Purja choses to push on, and summits the three neighbouring eight-thousanders of Everest on 22 May, Lhotse on 23 May, and Makalu on 24 May, in a record 48-hour push, taking a photograph of the large queue that had formed at the Hillary Step on Everest.
The film also includes interviews from Purja’s wife and brothers about his early life and career in the British Armed Forces, both within the Gurkas and the Special Boat Squadron (SBS). And the sacrifices and financial risks that Purja took to create Project Possible. That despite several attempts to secure funding for the project, all of which were unsuccessful, leaving him to remortgage his own family home, and finance the project himself.
Throughout the film, he also shared his mother’s poor health, the challenges he had in honouring her, and the Nepalese people. He also shared details of a near-death experience from a sniper bullet to the face while on duty with the SBS. All of this, shows the character of the man, the challenges he has faced, the sacrifices he has made, the choices he has faced in order to bring Project possible to fruition.
Purja then moves to the Karakoram eight-thousanders summiting Nanga Parbat on 3 July, but taking a 100 m (300 ft) fall while descending that was only arrested when he managed to grab hold of a random fixed rope that had been left behind. At one point, Purja tells the camera:
“I always say to myself, I’m not going to die today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today“
Not allowing anything to detur him, he summits Gasherbrum I on 15 July and Gasherbrum II 18 July. When Purja arrives at K2 (also one of the most dangerous eight-thousanders), spirits at Base Camp are very low, after high levels of avalanches meant that most teams are preparing to abandon their climbs for the enture season. However, Purja’s team breaks out some alcohol and has a party to lift spirits, sharing with them stories of their own summits and the mission they are on. The next day, Purja and his team begin climbing K2 and lay down fixed ropes in the dangerous Bottleneck section of the climb at 1am (when the snow is hardest and at its most stable). Purja successfully summits K2 on 24 July, and over the next two days, 24 other climbers use the fixed ropes laid down by his team to summit the mountain also. Two days later, Purja summits Broad Peak on 26 July, thus completing a 23-day push to climb the 5 eight-thousanders in the Karakoram.
Purja rushes back to Kathmandu to be with his mother who has suffered a heart attack, and spends little time with her. But, despite this, and her ailing health, he is determined to both honour her, and the mission. He returns to summit Cho Oyu on 23 September, and Manaslu on 27 September. Only to then have to spend a few weeks lobbying Nepali politicians to help him secure a permit from the Chinese to climb Shishapangma in Tibet. Some weeks later, and after launching a social media compaign to encourage others to help put pressure on the chinese government to allow this project to continue, he gains the permit and successfully summits on 29 October 2019. Purja is seen calling his dying mother on a Sat-phone from the summit:
“We did it”
Later we see Purja reunited with his mother and the world’s media then gather to celebrate the conclusion of his Project Possible.
Purja told Climbing (a major US-based Climbing magazine) that Project Possible was a way of countering the constant scepticism he encountered before starting, and particularly raising sponsorship for the project, as he struggled to convince investors that his goals were realistic and that he was the climber to achieve them. When he summited the first peak, Annapurna I on 23 April 2019, Purja had only locked down 15 per cent of the financing he needed, and most of this money had come from remortgaging his own UK house.
As the project continued, he raised funds both through GoFundMe campaigns, and eventually corporate sponsorship (e.g. rebranding the project as Bremont Project Possible). After Bremount who got to hear of him through his military connections agreed to co-sponsor later parts of the project.
On completion of the project, Purja told Redbull:
“It’s been one financial risk after the other. I say this project has been ‘horrifically amazing”
The former British Marine was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabethin 2016 for his mountaineering achievements. In the process of completing “Project Possible”, he broke six further records — including the fastest summit of the three highest mountains in the world.
Fastest ascent of all 14 eight-thousanders in 6 months and 6 days (the previous record was 7 years and 310 days by South Korean climber Kim Chang-Ho)
Fastest ascent of the 5 highest eight-thousanders in 70 days (the record for climbing without supplementary oxygen is 4 years and 219 days by Spanish brothers Alberto Iñurrategi and Felix Iñurrategi).
Fastest triple-header of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu in 2 days and 30 minutes (Purja was the previous record holder from 2017).
What I took from this…
ANYTHING is possible, you just have to believe
Never take NO for an answer
A lack of funding doesn’t mean you stop, it means you haven’t conveyed the value well enough
How legislation and paperwork can put a stop to anything. And, how social pressure can influence governments to continue!
But also, it made me ask some tough questions:
Would Sir Edmund Hilary or other Western Climbers have had such problems securing funding/support?
Why do SO MANY PEOPLE feel it necessary to summit Everest (circa 400 a day for 2 days were summiting when Purja was there) Most of these are not climbers, but tourists ticking it off a list, whilst putting both Sherpa’s and most others on the mountain at risk!
How TEAM is everything and having one that believes in you in key to YOU achieving more
How some are takers, happy for you to do the work, as long as it enables them to achieve their own agenda
Both the endurance and fragility of human life. What we can endure when we set our mind to achieve something. And yet, how we can jeopardize all of that in responding to the need to help another
The importance of family, belief, heritage, culture, belief, belonging and identity
If you’ve not yet watched it, I strongly recommend you carve some time out and give it a viewing
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and what you took from the film?
I’m often asked “Why are you called My TrueNORTH?” so thought it best if I shared the story behind our #brand. (After all, every business has its own story, right?)
The Story of the Explorer’s Compass
Imagine. You are an explorer standing exactly on the North Pole. It’s been a long journey and it’s freezing cold. You pull out your compass.
What direction would the needle on the compass point?
The answer may not be what you think!
In order to answer this question, you will have to understand the difference between the true geographic north and magnetic north.
Because these two north locations are completely different.
What is the Geographic (True) North Pole?
The Earth rotates on the geographic north and south poles. The geographic north and south poles are where lines of longitude (meridians) converge in the north. The south and north pole are directly opposite to one another.
The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Scientists have tried marking the North pole. Because the water here is permanently covered with moving sea ice, it’s practically impossible to construct any type of permanent station at the true North Pole.
On the other side of the Earth, the South Pole lies on a continental landmass known as Antarctica. Because the ice on top of Antarctica moves only a few meters a year, the United States Antarctica program has installed a marker here to delineate the true South Pole.
What is the Magnetic North Pole?
The Earth is one big magnet. The Magnetic North Pole (also known as the North Dip Pole) is a point on Ellesmere Island in Northern Canada where the northern lines of attraction enter the Earth.
A compass needle rests freely in its casing so it can manoeuvre itself. When you pull out a compass, it aligns itself with the Earth’s magnetic field. The small magnetic pin is how a compass responds to Earth’s magnetism.
This means that a compass needle will point to the Magnetic North Pole – which is different from the geographic north.
But how much of a difference is the magnetic north vs geographic north? (And what has this got to do with my business?)
Where would a compass needle point if you were standing on the true North Pole?
If you were standing on the geographic north pole holding your compass, it would point towards northern Canada at Ellesmere Island. This is a difference of about 500 kilometres between the Geographic North and Magnetic North poles! But, the Magnetic North Pole is actually moving kilometres every year. This phenomenon is known as the Polar Shift Theory.
Magnetic inclination varies according to where you are located on the globe. In order to point you in the right direction, users can compensate for magnetic inclination by using charts of declination or local calibration.
What has any of this got to do with my business?
When you first set out in business. Whether that quit your job or simply determined you wanted to work for yourself. You had a plan, a goal, a vision of what success looked like for you, your family, your business.
Ever since then, you’ve been busy working towards making that a reality. And yet, in my experience (17 years a Business Owner, and having worked now with well over 8,000 others) those who actually achieve everything they first set out to achieve are few and far between. (Statistics, shows less than 6% of business owners ever achieve what they first intended for their goals and success aspirations).
So why is that?
Ask the 94% who don’t achieve their goals, and they have a long list of reasons as to why it never worked the way they had expected:
Trust me, if I had £1 for every time someone offered me a reason as to why they didn’t achieve their goals, I’d be a wealthy man! The simple fact is, (just like an explorer seeking to reach the pole) life got in the way and they got blown off course!
So are you Explorers?
Yes, and no. My TrueNORTH is a team of Business #Scaleup Sherpa’s. We work with ethical business leaders, who are seeking to align themselves and their businesses with bigger, bolder, more impactful goals. They recognise they may have been ‘blown off course’ (within My TrueNORTH we refer to this as SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome) and seek help, guidance, support and accountability to recalibrate both them and their business with those aspirational goals of achieving Success Summit
Just as a Sherpa is there to support the Explorer achieve their summit. We tailor our proven methodology to you and your business. Ensuring we align you, your team and your business, to the long term goals and aspirations your first had when you first started. And make this a milestone for all to work towards (But not its final destination…)
Our holistic business compass looks at your business from 8 different perspectives. And ensures each has the right people, systems and processes, and are aligned with the goals and aspirations of the business leader.
But beyond this, we also work on legacy, helping leaders live a legacy (rather than simply leave one behind), enabling them to love what they do, for what it, in turn, does for them, their stakeholders and their businesses.
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Accordingly, to psychologist and Life coach Cliff Arnall, (A tutor of the Centre for lifelong Learning), Today is the saddest day of the year.
‘Blue Monday‘ is Cliff’s concept and is based on a mix of bad weather, long winter nights, the aftermath of the festive period, and a week before the first ‘pay day’ after Christmas. He concluded, as many people ‘overspent’ in the run-up to and over the festive period, have in the past 48Hrs received their Credit Card statement, and taken a big Gulp as they realise the impact ‘such’ a good Christmas has had!
It’s also the day that MOST people who made a New Year’s resolution to “Stop…..” be that Dry January, Give up Smoking, Go to the Gym, etc FALL OFF THE WAGON!
Whether it’s the Credit Card reality or forming a new habit, be that NO MORE of THIS or MORE of That, How’s that going for YOU right now?
“If you always do, what you’ve always done; you’ll always have (at best) what you have already!”
An alternative approach: Attitude + Altitude
There is nothing more exhilarating than being around people who exude the energy of endless possibilities. These kinds of people are needed in our lives if we wish to see what is attainable.
There is nothing more exhilarating than being around people who exude the energy of endless possibilities. These kinds of people are needed in our lives if we wish to see what is attainable. When we surround our environment with people who believe in the harshness of life we are drained of energy and vitality. Therefore, the choice is really up to us – do we want to reach the stars or do we want to stay on the ground constantly looking up secretly wishing that we were among the dazzling jewels that grace the heavens. A strong, positive, and resilient attitude will help elevate you to unimaginable heights.
In life attitude is everything. Check the people around you and observe their attitude barometer – negative or positive – and if the results are negative then you may need to look at your own attitude and make certain adjustments. Usually, people mirror our own unconscious feelings and attitudes about life that we perhaps are not acknowledging head-on. Remember, your attitude determines your altitude. That’s why it’s so important to be choosy about who we do spend our time with. I believe that we do become what we think about, and who we surround ourselves with every day strongly influences what we think about or become. A positive attitude is not about displaying a fake smile, a happy face, and a forced spring in our step. It is simply a way of responding to life in a manner that allows us to accept the contradictions, the contrasts of our experiences. A positive attitude enables you to make a difference in the world around you because when you are able to see things in a positive light, you help to influence and shape other people’s attitudes as well.
What is attitude anyway?
It is the mental state or position you take regarding your life and affairs. This means it’s not what you think but how you think it. Your attitude forms every event in your life, whether you realise it or not. Out of your attitude comes your enjoyment of life and gratitude for all your blessings. Out of your attitude also comes your disappointment and anger at how things have turned out. Out of attitude also comes the feeling that no accomplishment will ever be good enough or that you are not good enough. Every day, your attitude is challenged by other people and by external factors. How will you react? Will you allow adversity to stop you from moving forward? Will you allow a negative person to ruin your day, make you lose your cool, or force you to give up on your dreams? When such temptations come knocking on your door, stand at the door of your mind and declare powerfully and silently, “No one is home”. In other words, cease to engage.
We’ve made it our MISSION to support 1,000,000 Business Owners #ADDAZERO to their Business. And just one of the ways we are doing that is through our in-person #ADDAZERO Activator events – An opportunity for you to take a little time out of the business, to work ON the business (As Gerber taught us), AND to look at it through a completely different lens!
On this highly interactive and bespoke workshop, I’ll ask you FOUR questions you are NEVER likely to have been asked before, which once you are able to answer (more than 96% can’t when I first ask them) will COMPLETELY change how you see and operate within your business FOREVER!
It was Einstein that taught us:
“You will never overcome any problem, using the same level of intellect, than that which created it”
Who do YOU know, that deserves to make this year their BEST YEAR YET. Who works hard, isn’t frightened of putting the hours in, but still hasn’t achieved everything they deserve, and really ought to do more, earn more, be more?
Approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first year of being open and circa 30% more within the following year. 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Approx 20% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more!
So why is that?
“We don’t know, what we don’t know” – Donald Romsfeld
Whether you are just starting out, or an established business leader, we ALL face hurdles, stumbling blocks, hold-up’s along the way. Therefore, rather than being in denial, that it “Won’t happen to me” far better to be acknowledging and prepared to address this head-on, that it doesn’t then destabilise the progress made, and prevent further progress.
What would you do if you KNEW you COULDN’T Fail?
The biggest hurdle to SME businesses owners is FEAR!
Fear of getting it wrong
Fear of getting it right
Fear of growing too quickly
Fear of not growing at all
Fear of success
Fear of failure
Fear of the unknown
It doesn’t matter the cause, the fear of stepping out onto the business owner playing field, or of doing something, it not working and losing all we have already, is sufficient to paralyse progress and prevent most business owners from achieving ALL they are capable of. So what IS needed to prevent such a colossal failure rate? How do we reduce the risk, and enable more people who have the courage and conviction to become business owners that succeed?
Education – But not SHELF development. Useful, practical, user-friendly information, relevant to the here and now, and delivered in a manner the business owner can implement straight away and see results. I’m not talking about going back to school and studying for years, I’m referring to an easy to use guide, you can dip in and out of, just extracting what you need, where you need, as you need.
Welcome to #ADDAZERO The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable SCALE
“It’s like having a business coach in your pocket“
one reader declared. Whilst another exclaimed;
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We’ve spent almost 7 years, researching more than 100K SME businesses, to fully understand the hurdles YOU are facing, and the best means of either avoiding or addressing each of those hurdles. We’ve then condensed all our learning, into an easy to read, easy to apply GUIDE book. That at any moment, you can simply flick to the page and gain further understanding and practical guidance on what, where, who, when, how to resolve.
What’s more, we also provide a comprehensive free, bespoke #scaleup report on the current strengths and weaknesses within your business. Again, with practical guidance on what, where and how to review and revise. It’s all part of our mission to support 1,000,000 business owners to #Addazero
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In 1876, the President of Western Union – William Orton, dismissed phones as a “toy” when Alexander Graham Bell offered to sell him the patent for $100,000.
Orton wrote an internal memo stating,
“The idea is idiotic on the face of it. Furthermore, why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States?”
I start with that quote because it’s clear how far off that prediction really was. The number of mobile devices alone in 2020 stood at 14.02 billion, with forecasts suggesting this is likely to rise to 14.91 billion by 2021
That prediction was far off the mark and perhaps cost Orton billions in passing it by. But we don’t have to be clairvoyants as leaders, simply willing to remain open, observant, and ready to learn, adapt, and overcome!
What I want to focus on today is the difference between ROI, which we all understand, and COI, which we often forget about.
We all know that ROI refers to a Return On Investment. And, it’s important for us to run a financial analysis before making decisions like purchasing a new piece of equipment. We do financial analysis on large decisions to determine if we can make our money back on an investment and to determine how long that will take.
We then decide whether to make the investment or not based on the time within which we can turn that around, pay off our investment and begin reaping the rewards from it. That we are not at risk of our cash burn rate exceeding beyond our cash reserves, and leaving is GROWING broke! – However, another challenge we face as leaders is the COI, or Cost Of Inaction.
What happens when we have a business problem (we may even know the cost of that problem), yet we fail to take action to resolve it?
I’ll give you an example:
I was speaking earlier this week with the Director of a legal practice. The company had one office that wasn’t performing up to expectations. Throughout the discussion, the director said, “Jay, we know some of this is cultural, and we just can’t figure out why.”
We talked about what it might take to solve this problem. Through discussions, we came up with a great plan, which the director themselves acknowledged would likely fix the problem. He had even taken it one step further and recognised that this problem was costing them approx. £250,000 a year!
But when we looked at what it would take to get that problem fixed and came up with the budget for it, his response was, “I can’t afford to do that.” I asked why not, and he said, “We haven’t budgeted that money out.”
(Keep in mind, the cost to fix the problem was a fraction of the £250,000 problem.)
“So you’re willing to continue to pay £250,000 to maintain the problem versus a fraction of that to fix it?”
We determined that we could probably get the problem fixed in about 12-18 months. And that by around Easter 2022, they would probably have made their money back from an ROI standpoint.
However, the director failed to consider COI. Making a decision based on “We didn’t budget money to solve this problem,” and being willing to continue to lose £250,000 a year on a problem is the COI, the cost of inaction.
Here’s another example:
I worked with a business owner who wanted to design an incentive program for her employees that would help boost productivity and improve customer service. We discussed it, and she said, “I can’t put this in place right now. It’s probably going to take a couple of years to budget for it.”
“If the incentive program were to self-fund and drive business results on top of that, wouldn’t it be smart ROI?” I asked
“It’s absolutely smart ROI.” She said
“What would be the cost if you did nothing?”
“I save the initial investment but get nothing additional.”
We were able to start to figure out how many customers she would lose if she couldn’t up her customer service game, and how much it would then cost her to acquire new customers to take their place. That was her COI — calculating out the cost it takes her to acquire new customers and multiplying that against her customer retention rate. By not making the investment, we knew how many clients she was going to lose and would have to replace.
In both scenarios, these leaders were savvy business owners. Unfortunately, they were only looking at one piece of the pie. Sometimes, as the leader, we can get a bit ‘tunnel vision’.
While I started off with a very evocative prediction by the CEO of a multi-national corporate, I also said we don’t always have to be clairvoyants; we just have to make solid business decisions. My definition for solid business decisions comes back to: What is the best thing for the business and the people in it?
We have to remember that our people are the ones driving our business results. Any investment we look at making in our people, if done wisely, is going to have a bottom-line impact for us.
Here is my final example of COI
Few people know the Kodak Company was the first to invent the digital camera back in the 1970s. They filed the patent but failed to fully develop the technology because they feared it would too greatly impact their sales of film.
In 2007, their patent for the digital camera expired. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy. They paid a huge cost for their COI in not jumping into the market and exploring the new technology, even if it were to impact their business short term. They failed to acknowledge change and resulted in losing everything. I understand this is a lack of foresight, but their COI was bankruptcy.
I strongly encourage business leaders to look at their decisions through both lenses
If I make the investment, what will happen?
If I don’t, what will happen?
I recall being invited to speak at the Federation of Small Businesses National Conference in 2012. Prior to being invited to stage, I’d been sat at a table with around a dozen other business owners, one particularly ‘stood out’ as he had chosen to wear a very vibrant purple colour suit with contrasting orange shirt. He had the entire tables undivided attention as he told us so enthusiastically that he was on the verge of launching his new business, that was going to revolutionise the online education space (remember, this was 2012). We were all ‘hooked’ on his every word, and wished him every ongoing success and that he must ‘keep us all informed as to his progress’.
A year later, I was invited back to the conference, not as a main stage speaker but to host a round table discussion. As I arrived, who should i see in the car park, but a gentleman wearing a vibrant green suit with contrasting yellow shirt! I began to make my way over to him and learn of the progression he had made in the past 12 months,….. only to hear he begin to recite exactly the same story to another unsuspecting couple a few paces ahead of me!
The online education space was said to be valued at $107 billion by 2015, and is projected at being worth $350 billion by 2025! And yet, I strongly suspect, I’m likely to bump into the same gentleman with the questionable attire telling me how that was “his idea” and had been “cheated out of his fortune”
This is anything but a dress rehearsal my friends, and neither “Putting it off until…” or “Once I’ve …” is going to pay dividends to your dreams or plans of what you want from your business.
It is widely regarded as Einstein who declared the definition of insanity as being “Doing the same thing, again and again, still hoping for a different outcome”. I’d like to suggest that doing nothing towards progressing both you and your business, is already determining the increased risk of you and your businesses significance in the future. The only constant in life is that of change. And unless you are changing, evolving, developing at the rate of change you are already getting left behind!
The reality is, you don’t know, what you don’t know. And not making the investment in you, your development, may not simply mean maintaining the status quo. As we saw with Kodak, a lack of continual investment cost them their company. So, make sure you’re calculating your ROI and your COI in order to determine your best course of action.
We’ve made it our mission to help and support 1,000,000 Business Owners to #ADDAZERO to their Personal Disposable Income. Enabling them to buy the ‘forever’ home of their dreams, take frequent and extensive holidays with their family and fall back in love with their business for what it is able to reward them with. To learn more, simply book a complimentary ‘virtual coffee’ with one of our award-winning SCALE mentors.
What have you been ‘putting off’ recently? What ‘excuses’ are you telling yourself as to why it’s not yet been completed?
How many times have you said either “Because of COVID…” or “Because of Lockdown…” Or “From January, I’m going to…”
Seriously. Whilst I try to ber as accepting of peoples circumstances, and meet people ‘where they are’. I’m really struggling to contain my frustration recently, as I’ve watched more and more begin to make excuses.
Yes, in ‘their’ head its a reason, a justification for the change in pace, the change in attitude, the change in focus. But NONE of that will enable you to REALLY achieve all it is you set out to achieve.
Trust me, I’ve not seen many business plans that talk about:
Taking most of December off to go Christmas Shopping, get drunk at parties and spend a ridiculious amount of time in traffic jams!
Take another 10 days away from the business to buy easter eggs, have a egg hunt, and use it as an excuse for the first BBQ of the year
And take at least 6 weeks out over the summer, to ‘spend time with the kids’!
Whilst these are all admirable qualities and something I want you to be able to do for the rest of your life. UNTIL you have achieved everything you want from the business, that allows you to achieve thid WITHOUT the business suffering as a result. NOW is not the time to go all sentimental on me, and miss the point.
There is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, the ONLY time is RIGHT NOW.
And RIGHT NOW, It’s time to put your war paint on. It’s time to pick up the mantle. It’s time for the final push to the frontier. There is exactly 1 month to go until we shall be shutting the office doors on 2020, taking a WELL EARNT break after a very unpredicted and challenging year over Christmas and New Year. Ready to return refreshed and ready for an exceptional 2021.
But now is not yet the time to be discussing turkey and tinsel. We still have one battle left to conquer. I need to hear your war cry, as we enter the final days of 2020, I need you to find that extra surge of energy, that reserve we all have within us for a (Just in case). It’s time to summon all your strength, all your courage, all your might, and march forward with certainty and confidence.
It’s time to become a Gladiator
The time is right for a more heroic style of leadership. Desperate times lend themselves to the rise of gladiators. Instead of seeing today’s economy as a negative, executives should view it as an opportunity in disguise–a chance to position your organization for the inevitable economic upswing. Here are eight virtues of Gladiator Leadership.
Gladiators have a mission for which they feel real passion
Call it a purpose, an obsession, a calling: whatever the terminology, good leaders have a defining mission in their life. This mission, above all other traits, separates managers from leaders. In Gladiator, Maximus lived for the mission of killing the evil usurper Commodus and restoring Rome to the values that made her great.
Having and communicating a clear picture of a future goal will lead to its achievement. Dare to think great! Maximus helped his fellow gladiators see that they could overthrow their enemies and survive the horror of the battles they were forced to participate in. In business, a leader may create an “enemy”the economy, the competition, inefficiency-to challenge the energies of his or her people and give them something to fight for.
Gladiators lead from the front
Gladiators don’t dictate from the back. In the movie, both when Maximus was a general and a gladiator, he fought up front where the firestorm was heaviest. So does a good business leader. Working “in the trenches” shows that you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, it helps you fully understand the issues your “soldiers” are facing, and inspires loyalty in your troops.
Gladiators know there is strength in teams
Where would Maximus have been if he hadn’t trusted his men to fight with him and cover his back? Likewise, where would you be without your employees? While the gladiator leader has the skills to draw people together, he doesn’t hog the spotlight. He has care and compassion for his team and wants every member to be recognized for his or her efforts. This is especially important in a time when the old style “command and control” structure is waning. Younger workers (Generations X and Y) tend to be loyal to their coworkers rather than the traditional “organization.”
Gladiators encourage risk-taking
In the Roman Empire, gladiators were expected to die with honor. Refusing to lie down and let one’s opponents win was bucking the status quo. (And certainly, killing the reigning emperor-however corrupt-simply was not done!) If a company does not examine its way of doing things, if it does not push out its boundaries, if it never makes mistakes, it may become road kill.
Gladiators keep their heads in a crisis
Maximus had to think on his feet and refuse to give into terror and panic. He faced the most formidable foes calmly and with focus. Business leaders must do the same. They must take a position and defend it when things go awry. Being graceful and brave under fire is the surest way to build credibility-a necessity for sound leadership. Gladiators don’t retreat due to the slowing economy, but look for the opportunity under their feet.
Gladiators prepare for battle 24 hours a day
Essentially, a Roman gladiator was a fighting machine. To stay alive, his mind had to be constantly on the upcoming battle. Business leaders, likewise, must be obsessed with training and developing their people in good times and bad. People need and want to hone their individual skills and “sharpen their swords.” Furthermore, good leaders must constantly learn what’s necessary to survive and unlearn the “old rules.” Just because a management style worked a decade ago does not mean it will work in today’s economy-good leaders evolve with the times.
Gladiators are teachers and mentors
Maximus taught his men the lessons they would need to survive in their new role as gladiators. In today’s rapidly changing environment, leaders must also teach and train those who may soon replace them. We are not necessarily talking about formal classroom training. We need leaders talking to people in the hallway, in the restaurant . . . everywhere. Everyone should be mentoring someone.
As a former rapid deployment soldier within the British Army, I know only too well the need for continual awareness. The constant training we went through in order that WHEN it mattered most we were (and still are) regarded as one of the most professional fighting forces in the world.
I beleive that is so, because of these 15 points, to which I now teach, coach, and mentor others to achieve within their businesses, that they also may reign victorious within their own growing business empire.
Gladiator lessons of Leadership
1. Organization – Every part of the army is organized with leadership within each sub-organization to see that the job gets accomplished successfully. A certain amount of structure is needed in any organization to succeed.
2. Process – There is a specific process used and replicated to achieve success. Each soldier knows their duties and is trained to handle them.
3. Supervision – Soldiers and the processes are supervised to insure things are carried out appropriately.
4. Motivation – The soldiers are motivated by having achieved success in the past and the goals that lie ahead with one final success in battle.
5. Inspection – Generals inspect components of the plan and processes underway, they know that inspection is a key for success.
6. Strategy – The Roman Legions have a simple, coordinated battle strategy that’s very effective. It takes advantage of each element of the army’s strengths and capabilities and attacks the vulnerabilities of the opposing force.
7. Planning – Planning is obvious as you see the battle unfold. Everything works like clockwork. A great strategy won’t work unless you are able to plan and implement effectively.
8. Providing tools and equipment for the job – The soldiers are well equipped and have the support they need to succeed.
9. Trained employees – Action is methodical and coordinated, a sign the soldiers are trained to do their job.
10. Backup – Maximus loses his sword as he enters the battle, but is quickly thrown a back up from a colleague. There is a mighty difference between a back up sword to carry on fighting, and a back up plan, which often means you don’t have full faith in the first!
11. Delegation – Responsibilities are delegated to competent leaders within the army. No one person can do it all.
12. Communication – Communication is key, from discussions with other officers, motivational acknowledgements to the foot soldiers, to the rally delivered to the cavalry. Even the fire arrow signal sent to start the battle is an example of communicating effectively.
13. Leadership by example – Maximus doesn’t just bark out orders, he leads his cavalry into battle. The reason he has so much respect from all levels of the army is that he is willing to do what he asks of others. He leads by example.
14. Treating others with respect – You can see mutual respect between the General and the men, it starts by the General sincerely respecting what his men do to win battles, even the lowest paid soldier in the army.
15. Teamwork – Soldiers of each component of the army work together as a team and all teams work in a coordinated fashion so the army as a whole can be effective in winning battles.
I may have left the service behind these day, but never left being of service. And still have that inner warrier within me, to summon the courage, the stamina, the tenacity to do whatever it takes to achieve what we set out to achieve.
What are your plans going forward? Are you ready to STEP UP? Are you ready to STEP OUT? Are you ready to do whatever it takes to achieve more than you have already?
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