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This week is a global entrepreneurship week where the world puts the spotlight on entrepreneurs and their journeys from what some term madness into chaos. And if you have been following the blogs, I have been lowering my work output on a diet of Dave Snowden and his Cynefin Model.
The framework does many things but for entrepreneurs it can help them make decisions about opportunities, their teams and the kind of approaches to assumption testing, which most of us who have started businesses know, that is the majority of what the first two years of business is made up of, and only we bear the scars to prove it.
Dave draws the parallel in corporate ‘best practice’ to trying to arrange a children’s party, which apart from making you giggle, will point out the absurdity in applying a framework tried and tested in one environment to an environment characteristically made out of chaos and unpredictable events.
Now our upcoming webinar, is centred around the topic of tenacity. The trait that defines success in the majority of high performers. In simple terms, they tolerate the uncomfortable for longer than the broader society and in this way have less competition, with more credibility and can capitalize off familiarity. Angela Duckworth, dissects tenacity and grit into categories of stamina. Out lasting others in focus, in interest and in energy. Notice she doesn’t mention passion- which is a fleeting response.
Now, using the children’s party analogy of Dave Snowden and looking at it through the lens of entrepreneurship provides an interesting perspective on both. Chaos, not dissimilar to that which ensues when children descend into the confines of a sugar-laden party venue, is the kind of frenzied chaos that entrepreneurs experience. And like the unfortunate hosts of the party, they must endure the headache inducing hysteria until the clock rings for collection.
After having two children, I have learnt some trade secrets to running a children’s party:
1. Don’t host the party at home if possible, because then you don’t have to clean up.
2. Everything from the table cloth to the crockery and cutlery should be disposable.
3. Sugar should be avoided if possible and substitutes used, if you can.
4. Sparklers burn faster than candles and no one gets a waxy piece of cake or a slice decorated with spit.
This took a few years to gather this experience and whilst doing so, I had to tolerate many parties both as an attendee and as a host. Now, I offer my kids a holiday for their birthdays instead of the pain and expense of a party. But you have to experience that chaos enough to build up a tolerance for it to work out the best way to navigate it. Before the experience starts to pay dividends.
My encouragement to entrepreneurs who feel like their businesses are chaotic and they are too uncomfortable, is that the experience you are getting now is developing muscles that most don’t even start to experience. Soon you will start to see patterns of behaviour and begin to put in place means of making sense of your chaos. But you have to have the stamina of focus and intent to get there.


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