Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Beyond Titles

Back on February 10, I shared this post on LinkedIn.  Prior to that… some time back, I wrote this post.  I offer these as a launch into something of a quasi mini rant, if you will.

Entitlement is not a disease of the Millennials.  Each and every generation has its own sense of entitlement.  The question is not of entitlement but entitlement to what? This does not mean every member of every generation believes the same, but there are some fairly common understandings, all the same.  For example…

Each generation expects something, at times unearned.  The ELDERS… 70+ in age…. born on or before 1945 expect first person communications (they expect to talk face to face… remember The Cat’s in the Cradle?).  They expect  family traditions, respect, hard work and individual responsibility.  They expect orderliness and honor.  The BOOMERS… 50-69 in age… born 1945-1965 expect in-person communications albeit by phone probably… Cat’s in the Cradle indeed.  They came to expect education (at the post secondary level), and the dream of wealth and retirement.  We were born of THE BOOM, after all.  Generation X… 35 to 49 in age… born 1965-1980 expect fun, excitement and freedom…. the latchkey kids, a tad rebellious.  Remember D-Gen XGeneration Y… 15-34 in age… born 1980-2000… your Millennials… expect fun and social and tech connection.  They value and expect now.  After all, they were born of the most turbulent times in recent history… the falling of walls and changing of borders… so much uncertainty in the world.  Now, is expected.  Balance is expected.

We all have expectations.  Often times, those expectations can be deserved and earned, but not always.

EARNING THE RIGHT

So, we all have expectations, justified or not; earned or not.  When I witness and experience the worlds of leadership and speaking these days, I suggest that there is a personal struggle for me.  The world does not need more gurus and messiahs, especially if self proclaimed or promoted.  It does not need people who expect others to listen and heed and adhere.  The world does need teachers; teachers who have earned the right to teach.  They have a specific skill or talent or thought process that they can pass on to others for the betterment of the world at work, school, community or beyond.  That gift is proven; hard earned of experience and expertise.  Great teachers are life long students.  They earn the right (as Dale Carnegie put it) to teach through their own hard earned learning; not by title or presumption or expectation.

Learning is earned.   Great teachers need not call themselves such because they recognize the earned right, by their example.  At best, we can master an area and hope to pass along that learning, to advance work and life and society.  This is not an attack on good work being done in the world.  It is to suggest that, at best, we must each focus our expertise and not play the role of savior of all.  Great teachers do not expect others to listen or heed.  With humility and integrity, they learn and acquire wisdom and they know that the right students (for their expertise) will pay attention.  There is no need to beat chests or preach.  There is only the need to humbly and truthfully go about learning and perfecting and being a great example.  The example is, after all, the teacher.

As a life long educator, I choose to remind myself that I am and will always hope to be a lifelong learner.  I need to be vigilant and aware of the slippery slope that is mastery.  Mastery, true mastery, requires humility as we will always be learning.  I must and will consistently remind myself of the need for humility and integrity and excellence in what I do… what we do.

 

The world does not need unearned expectations.  It does not need self acknowledging or proclaiming or promoting gurus.  It needs people of earned expertise who can and are passionate to teach those interested.    So, this is a call to anyone listening.  Find your expertise, your craft, your aim of mastery… take on a life long journey of learning… and be prepared to pass it on to others… at work, school, community and/or family.  Therein, through education and learning, lies the hope for us all.

The path to great education and teaching, lies in learning and the humility, integrity and excellence demanded of the best kind of learning.  It lies in:

  • approaching each day with an attitude of humble learning (HUMILITY)
  • walking your path determining your ways to pay it forward (INTEGRITY)
  • understanding that the example, not the title, teaches (EXCELLENCE).

To close, I offer this…

The Master in the Art of Living

  • The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.  — LP Jacks

Master, teach and let others decide how to describe that.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

A video version, for those inclined.  🙂

Demands of the Road Ahead

Some weeks back, I offered this post.  Then, on February 16, I offered this on resilience.  Then, there was this piece of news.  Things are about to get interesting. The road ahead demands much of us.  Indeed.

I say this, not with a sense of doom and gloom but with a sense that the times are more than a changing… beyond cliché.  In a Province with an unexpected and almost $2 billion dollar deficit brought on by a collapse in oil prices and revenues, and an apparent presumption that such would not happen… we are now facing decisions that will define us and our future.

Given my own personal passion and background in education, business and with youth, and as a Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project™… I feel the need to weigh in, albeit and hopefully humbly.  There are many tactical questions to answer in the days, weeks and months ahead.  Still, and ultimately, the math makes one thing very apparent.  The way out requires some combination of increasing revenues and reducing expenditures.  The math requires it.

That is a strategic issue.

That being said, decisions on reductions in expenditures require us to define what is most important to us as a people and a culture.  We have to know our priorities.  It requires us to know the character of this place and that for which we truly stand.  That is an important conversation and decision, for us all.  In the coming weeks and months, I will choose to explore such questions, connecting the dots of the character and capacity of a culture and society to take care of what matters most.  True responsibility demands that.

Some might say this is simplistic.  Simplicity is a strength; of any great strategy.  It is about being true to purpose, with great and clear focus.  Its guidance is powerful.  It does not imply easy.  It does imply foundational.

Knowing what matters most to us as a people, society and culture can effectively guide our decisions on priorities for expenditures.

That being said, when considering ways to increase revenues, let us finally admit that we need to fully understand that we have to be an export driven culture and economy… and that it goes beyond traditional and natural resources.  Hospitality, entertainment, technology… and more.  We need a return to an entrepreneurial culture where we celebrate and support and encourage small and medium size enterprise to sell to the world in diverse and innovative ways.  Technology has broken down the age old excuse of geography and distance.  Finding and supporting entrepreneurs through our education models, youth engagement and business development must go to the head of the line.  Training youth for jobs is fine.  But, we need to find and train a wave and generation of entrepreneurs who will create those jobs, independent of big oil and mining and other natural resources.

This is not an attack on oil, gas and more.  It is a call to independent and small business to turn its gaze to the global market.  In a Province of 500,000+ people, we have a world out there to serve.  Now, we must identify the qualities and strengths of an entrepreneurial culture and promote it in our education, youth engagement and business development  To start, what are the character strengths of such a culture?

Let’s have that conversation and articulation.  Let’s build classrooms and communities that engage it and advance it; by reinforcing those strengths of character of the entrepreneurial mindset and heartset.  In the coming weeks and months, I will engage both streams of thought on:

  • character, capacity, creativity and cost cutting; and
  • character, capacity, creativity and creating wealth.

The journey will hopefully engage not just this local culture but any culture going through such change.   Many parts of the world seem to be at crossroads socially and economically, locally and globally.  As the days and weeks and months advance, I will contribute my own thoughts here.

With this in mind, I certainly don’t have the answers but I know they start with decisions of character.  Hope you ride with me.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Your OAR in the Water

Effective this week, we will be publishing a weekly blog post with a core and specific focus around the Mount Pearl and Paradise business community.  As a member of the Mount Pearl – Paradise Chamber of Commerce… and personally as residents of both municipalities, we are excited to commence such a journey, posting both here and on our own blog site at www.epicengage.com.  The posts will be focused, with a thought or idea (or two) geared towards doing business in and outside of our communities.  That being said, there should be something in it and applicable to many.  God willing.  🙂

To start, and with the local economy and its current challenges and questions in mind, I suggest that we consider the power and impact of strong learning cultures in times of trial and triumph alike.  As a business educator for over 20 years now, I would put forward that the greatest classrooms, staff rooms, floor rooms and board rooms go beyond words and cliché when building true learning cultures.  Any type of culture is built through both deeds and words… and through stories, rituals and symbols; but through it all… it must be authentic.

Authentic learning cultures celebrate learning and they are built on 3 clear strengths of character.  They are:

OPEN.  Openness is a virtue; indeed a strength of character.  It moves beyond the “open door” to an understanding that we should always be in receiver mode, with our antennae up and ready… our ears and eyes and senses always taking in our surroundings.  Environmental assessment is not an event.  It is part of any great hunt… including the hunt for success in lean times.  Openness stands in the face of presumptions and group think.  It is ready to learn, with both humility and confidence.  It is the ultimate understanding of a true open system; taking in all that it needs to make its best choices and practices happen.

ADAPTIVE.  Openness is powerful but must be accompanied by the capacity to make the necessary changes.  Knowledge has only the potential for power.  What we do with that knowledge harnesses it for constructive change.  But, we still must be prepared to change.  It is the virtue of purposeful flexibility.

RELENTLESS.  Unstoppable and steadfast… they are both virtues; strengths of character of authentic learning cultures.  Learning is not an event.  It is a process and it should not stop.  Being “done learning” is done, period.  And I am not talking about weekly learning, or daily learning.  I am talking continuous, relentless learning.  It never stops.  It is relentless.

My unofficial mentor, Joe Calloway, speaks to this in his books such as Be the Best at What Matters Most and Magnetic; that ability to consistently seek excellence.  Excellence is born of and raised on learning… the kind of learning that is lifestyle and workstyle.  It is not cliché.  It is more than words.  It is real.  It is blood and guts real; authentic.

As we enter a time of both challenge and opportunity provincially and within Mt. Pearl and Paradise in particular, we should consider how we are building and advancing learning cultures within our individual enterprises and as a business community altogether.  Are we encouraging openness, adaptation and relentless pursuit of learning?  Are we applying these forces to the questions at hand?  What are the questions at hand?

  • What matters most now for our customers, in these times?
  • What are we best at in terms of serving what matters most?
  • How can we get better at that?
  • For whom do we serve best on what matters most?

In times of trial and triumph alike, excellence has a power to it.  It forces us to focus our energies.  Deciding where our true excellence lies and mastering it can be powerful in the market place and for the morale of our teams.  It is about getting back to our best knittin’.  It is what great champions do… getting clear on their identity and then playing their game, their way, their best way; for who they serve best.

As our posts continue, we will explore targeted ways to build excellence and serve in times like these; whatever these are.  We hope that you join us in this learning process… open, adaptive and relentless.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

Check out a Video Version

Some Local Business Resources

Resources at Epic Engage™

Resilience: A Factor of Five

Continuing with the year long (and life time) examination of virtues as strengths in the real world, I thought to look at resiliency.  In times of trial and triumph alike, it is a strength.  Indeed it seems that we need it now, more than ever; locally and globally.

Over the years, I have best seen it in some of the youth with whom I have worked; street entrenched and resilient.  I have been humbled by their strength and see them as my teachers in work and life.  They are shining examples of the power of the human spirit, to keep fighting.

Certainly look at Malala and her inspiration.

But what builds resilience as a strength of character?  The Virtues Project™ Reflection Card describes Resilience as …

It references flexibility and faith.  Indeed.  In deed.  And I would suggest three more F-bomb virtues.  Consider these 5 as building blocks to resilience.

Flexibility, faith, fidelity, forbearance and fortitude; 5 virtues of resilience.  Think of it.  First, the ability to purposefully adapt.  Water is resilient.  It will change direction and even form with the intent of reaching its destination, the ocean.  Second, having a certainty that we will “get there”; that comes from faith.  Third, keeping an either conscious or unconscious promise to ourselves and others… that we will do what we need to do.  Fidelity is a powerful form of commitment.  Fourth, being able to carry the load with forbearance.  And finally, fortitude and its pure will to survive.  Strength, in five building blocks… forming the powerful capacity of resilience.

Imagine this power in our schools, in the face of personal and collective challenges as both educators and students.  Imagine this power in business and at work in times of economic and competitive trial.  Imagine this power in our communities undergoing and undertaking change.  Imagine.

I constructively challenge each of us to consider the behaviours noted on the cards above and ask how can we encourage these states of being in our families, schools, workplaces, businesses and communities.  Building cultures that encourage these strengths advances a robust capacity for both facing challenges and seizing opportunities.

We often admire resilience.  We see it in others.  I know I do.  We do.  But, the real opportunity is to learn from it… be inspired by it… to emulate it.  I would respectfully suggest that you consider this Fantastic Five collection of virtues as the bricks and mortar of building resilience in our families, schools, workplaces, businesses and communities.  We need it in times of trial and triumph alike.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Healthy Roads Shared

I invite you to have a listenOr wait.

These past 6 months have been quite a personal journey.  August 20, 2015… I was introduced to the world of strokes, first hand.  It seems to have been a brain bleed of sorts, cause as yet unknown; with further tests in order.  The prognosis is good.  My vitals have been and are strong.  I maintain high function with some relatively minor physical symptoms.  Still, they are there.  It is a mystery, and one that needs exploration; for best prevention going forward.  It has challenged me and my life in ways unexpected.  It has caused me to take new steps and paths.  More on that, to follow.

Now, with Stephanie Staples and Big Daddy Tazz, we are embarking on a new leg to the journey… discovering lifestyle and roads onwards and back to optimal health.  And, we are are doing it on air.

Yup, on air.

For me, I am intent on exploring real health in a real world with real motivation; mine being how I best work through this time of recuperation and get back to my optimal health I once knew.  This will include medical science, reflection and more.  It will include action and lifestyle changes, best for me.  The conversations and commitments on air and in between shows will be real as we do a series of radio show check-ins, and invite you to join us.  This is all about sharing perspectives and wisdom and realizing that we each find our own best path.  But there is cool magic in shared wisdom.  We are excited about the conversations and paths ahead.  We are motivated.

And for me, as a Virtues Project™ Master Facilitator, I intend to invoke the 5 Strategies with a heightened focus and one that looks within… and practice the virtues of commitment and accountability, and more.

And I intend to learn from my compatriots and anyone who joins us on the journey.  We do invite you.

I will be sharing more via the radio show and here, in future posts.  Hope you join me and us.

Now, maybe have a listen.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Don’t Blame the Millennials

Please watch this from Russell Wilson after Super Bowl 49.  Now, watch this from Cam Newton after Super Bowl 50.  Both young men suffered a heart breaking loss at the highest levels of the game.  I offer this simply in response to what I have heard some analysts attributing Cam’s behaviour… being a Millennial.

Some time back, I wrote this post.  Check out Gen Y, your Millennials.

Now, first, this is not an attack on Cam.  As one analyst rightly noted; Cam can do what he wants… so long as he is aware of the potential reactions.  That all being said, attributing such behaviour to an entire generation is more than inaccurate and misguided.  Character is not the wholly owned real estate of any one generation over another.  Character is not a birthright.  It is practiced and honed and earned thusly.  My singular hope is that Cam will learn that talent and charisma are one thing; but character, on genuine display, breeds legend.

This is true at school, work and community.  Winning is one thing.  Dignity in loss is another.  Smiling and cheering when all is going your way is one thing.  Holding one’s head high, while disappointed and challenged… is another.  It is called forbearance and fortitude; two powerful virtues… and they are strengths of legend and reputation… in business, community, sports and beyond.

Winning gets you a trophy.  Character crowns you a champion in whatever arenas you compete.  To Cam and us all… take great competency and talent, add some charisma… and bring a load of character… and you can truly be legend.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The C6 Career Search

As a business college educator, human resource guy, employer and Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project™, I find this to be a great and timely post for job hunters and career seekers.  I invite you to engage and enjoy the read.  That being said, it speaks to me of the real world importance of six strengths of character… all, interestingly enough, beginning with the letter C.

Certitude for Career SearchConfidence for Career SearchCourage for Career SearchCaring for Career SearchCreativity for Career SearchCooperation for Career Search

Acting with certainty is the power of clarity… knowing what you want and intend and having that kind of fierce focus…. that requires you to get honest and truthful about what you want and where you can best serve.  Take a weekend (your own personal retreat with you) to, with singular focus, reflect truthfully about what you really want.  Spreading yourself thin by trying to be something for everyone will, too often, get you nothing but despair and frustration.  Fierce focus grounded in certitude will be evident to both you and those you engage.

Acting with confidence is the power of faith… knowing that you will get there, somehow, someway… the self assurance of the effort.  Confidence is a faith in both yourself and the world you engage.  It shows and shines.  Practice it.  Act it through your smile, your wholehearted breathing, and your posture.  As you act with confidence, you show it clearly.

Acting with courage is the power of the action… not being held back by doubt and fear in taking that action.   That requires a momentary commitment… to just do it.  Pick up the phone, start the conversation…

Acting with caring is the art of the search…. an intense interest and commitment to both the search and those you meet along the way.  As Dale Carnegie said… become genuinely interested in others.  Genuine interest shows openness and curiosity and engagement.  That starts with caring… not only about your own hunt… but those you engage in it.

Acting with creativity is the art of being original and being noticed for it… the purposeful innovation in the search and presentation.  Being better at something is different.  Being original is different.  Find your difference.  Be a difference maker.

Acting with cooperation is engaging the process in partnership, as equals… you the seeker of fulfilling employment; the employer as seeker of an effective employee and contributor.  You share in the power of the consultation and decision.  Know it.  Live it.

My only suggestion this day is that you consider your strategy for job hunting or career seeking and/or changing with all six of these virtues in play.  Read the cards noted above and reflect on what actions do you need to take with them in mind and heart.  Draw upon resources like Richard Bolles’ What Color is Your Parachute? and the post referenced above… and more.  But, guide your strategy and effort with C6.

Go get it.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Imagine…

Greetings.  I invite you to consider and imagine the power of character.  It is neither theoretical nor naive to do so.  Examples abound.  In doing so, here are some thoughts to possibly consider.  In their totality, they might take an hour or so but are worth the time.  I think so; but even a scan is worth it.

In the spirit of truthfulness and transparency, I am a Baha’i, and I believe in this message… of Neil deGrasse Tyson and of The Universal House of Justice noted just below.

Baha i ViewAs a closing thought (for now anyway) on acceptance, beauty, creativity, detachment, excellence and humility as virtues, my own humble suggestion is that once we “get it”… once we understand that we are truly in this together and accept it fully, see the beauty in it, realize the creative capacity of it, learn to detach from old world views of us and them, and apply the excellence of the human spirit… wow.  One wonders (I  know I do) what could be our possibilities?   There is an inner and outer world of existence awaiting our exploration and realization; infinitely so.  It takes work, and character to do so.  It requires work to see ourselves differently.  It requires a passion for change; and an intent for growth, now.

So, consider…

Power of Character- AcceptancePower of Character- BeautyPower of Character- CreativityPower of Character- DetachmentPower of Character- ExcellencePower of Character- HumilityHow can you practice these six strengths of character in such a away to build a home, school, workplace, business or community that does get “it”; that understanding that we can and must move forward together, stronger?

For now, we are onwards to explore more on character and virtue; in real world terms.  It is my passion and my study, and I believe and contend that our most noble character will bring the kind of unity that results in peace, passion and prosperity at school home, work and community.  It is the message of all Sacred Teachers throughout history.  It is the message of the great visionaries of our times.  It is the message of Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek, and all those who see our future as anything but dark, sinister, boring or doomed.  Now, that can set the world on fire in most constructive of ways…. imagine that; but it will require work.  Onwards to that study.

Time to dance the message.

Peace, passion and prosperity, indeed, in deed.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Dream on….

…  and take the epic journey, my favorite song me thinks.

… and a couple of invites to join a small but growing community and/or get on our new cool email list, if you like and dare.  🙂

My Pythonic 5 of Creativity

I came across this the other day… on the creative process of Monty Python.  As an absolute fan of the awkward brilliance of the Python Crew, I found it interesting.  Indeed, as a person of faith both tested and real, I loved the assertive irreverence of this band of comic commentators.  As a guy who just loves to laugh and think, they ignited both for me.  BUT, as a business educator, entrepreneur, Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project™, and global citizen… I found this post today to be a constructive and raw exploration of some of the virtues that advance creativity.

Virtues- OpennessVirtues- PurposefulnessVirtues- FlexibilityVirtues- DiscernmentVirtues- Unity

These, I saw in the post and its exploration and articulation. I am sure there are more but you may be asking “Why do you offer such this Saturday, Barry?”  Well, I am glad you asked.  🙂

First, I found the read a refreshing little reminder of the genius that was and is Monty Python … these many years later.  They created provocative, silly, insane and purposeful comedy that both entertained and caused questioning of any number of topics.  Secondly, that same read caused me to see yet another example that brings the concept of virtues out from under the fluffy rock we place it so often.  Creativity and innovation are grounded in such character strengths.  Read The Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono and see the six faces of creativity.  Each are steeped in such strengths.  Have a listen to Sir Ken Robinson and consider the strengths of character addressed in his message.  Consider these virtues for a moment.

VirtuesWhich strengths do you and your team, school, family or community believe and contend to be the bedrock of creative cultures?  Practice them.  Find ways to champion them, every day.  Make them part of how you roll… your rituals and stories and all that you do.  Move beyond the theory and concept and even baggage of virtue.  Enter the realm of strengths.  Together, cultivate these strengths of character such that they advance creative solutions at school, family, work and community.

Creativity requires work and strength.  The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is an incredible exploration of same… and I wholeheartedly recommend the read.  In there, you will find any number of strengths of character required by creativity.  You will find what I call “Creativity’s Camelot“.

We need creativity and its building blocks (its Knights of the Court), now more than ever.  The world, and our own corners of it, demand it.  The virtues are the bricks that build such creativity; knights that fight the good and creative fight.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The Dead ParrotSilly Job Interview

Silly Walks

Top Ten Movie Moments?  (warnings!!!)

Global Mind and Heart Sets

These are just my thoughts. They are not criticisms, nor even commentaries.  They are the thoughts of one local guy; a business educator, and entrepreneur… but just one guy.  In matters of economics, I am an observer… not an expert.  Still…

This past week, I saw this news post referencing the 2016 business outlook from our local St. John’s Board of Trade. Indeed, if one follows the news or doesn’t, it is clear that a dive in the price of oil has left this Province with some serious questions… and the need to look inward. Indeed, in a recent post, I suggested that there was a real need to come together.

Indeed.  In deed.

I am no economist, though I have taught it… and I do understand its essential underpinnings.  I also understand that economics is ultimately rooted in collective psychology.  We think, therefore we will be.  There is a self-fulfilling theme running through much of economics.  If we perceive a downturn, we take actions that will often advance it further.  This is not to say that we should not look at things  and events through realistic eyes.  We should.  We must.  Indeed.

In deed.

Still, we must do so understanding the full reality.  This downturn in our economy, rooted in an extensive reliance on and celebration of oil and gas… is a reminder of the need to both go with your core sustaining strengths and not depend on rather large eggs in a single basket.  This is not a criticism of the oil and gas industry.  It is an industry we naturally would want to advance, given its potential for wealth in our Province.  However, I cannot seem to escape the idea that we saw one big egg and went after it.  We collectively hitched our wagon to it.  This applies to any economy that has perceived itself as one that is natural resource driven.  Arlene Dickinson speaks to this in that earlier noted post.  Our ultimate resources are within; ourselves and our people.   They are both sustaining and sustainable.  This is more than cliché.

Still even, that is not my point in this post.

It seems to me that, in our fair Province and maybe other regions of the world, we almost unconsciously examine our own markets with a somewhat “provincial” vision.  We find one or two key resource based industries and build around them.   Should they fall, we all fall.

In a province of some 500,000 in population, our best markets are elsewhere.  They always have been.  Oil and gas.  Fishery.  Tourism.  When it comes to natural resources, we have understood that and, in serial ways, have ridden one industry or another along the way.  We do recognize the commercial potential for international markets; but it is a matter of degree and depth.

Enter the Global Entrepreneur

In commerce and business, we need a world embracing view; not one that simply knows there is a wide world out there but that embraces it.  We need a local economy that is driven by what I call the “Marco Polo” virtue… to be Xenophillic; that robust curiosity for other cultures.  We need a local economy that is driven by supplying to a much larger and more diverse world.  We need a diverse local economy with an increasingly diverse population and the human resources that come with that; unleashed as entrepreneurs based out of this magical, mystical place that we love so dearly.

We need an outlook that is an out look.

No doubt there are entrepreneurs and leaders and programs like EVOLUTION working towards it, but it still is somewhat superficial.  Collectively and consciously, we still are not quite there.  Indeed, I am no economist; but the strategic part of my brain says look within for our strengths and turn our weaknesses into same.  Then consider the much larger environment.  How can we best serve it?  What do we have to offer the world?  We are a resilient people, born of entrepreneurial stock though we may have forgotten.  Yes, we do have an aging population; but they are skilled and talented… and love this place.  We have but to feed and support 500,000 people.  What are our talents and best capacities?  How can we unleash them?

This is not simply a problem for government.  This requires all hands on deck and all oars in the water.  The Board of Trade post suggests we need to bullet proof our businesses.  With respect, that can be a prevent defense and (while certainly understandable and advisable) it cannot replace a visionary outlook that sees the world of opportunity… from the eyes of an entrepreneurial culture.

This is about more than programs and initiatives.  It is about more than big industry.  It is an education issue and a culture building issue.  Yes, we have a wealth of natural resources and some might even be worthy of our sharpened focus even now.  Still, our talent and capacity does not begin nor end there.  My thoughts are to consider four things directly related; and foundational.  And, they do not require a long time to complete; just a sharpened intent and focus.

FIRST, our character.

What is the character of this place upon which we can all agree, regardless of subcultures and rituals and diversity?  What is it to be of this place, that unites us?  What is our core?  What do we share as an understanding of this place?

Global Mind

Are we courageous, open and creative?  Are we enduring, purposeful and friendly?  What strengths of character define us collectively?  Define it as a starting point.  What do we most value in this culture?  What are our most cherished strengths of character?  What is at our core?  Who are we?  What do we want this place to be about?  This can be answered rather quickly.  Examine the strengths above.  Have the conversation that gets to naming our identity desired.  Why, you ask?  Because…

SECOND, our capacities.

What capacities do these strengths of character produce in such a way that they could be offered to the world?  What services and products are naturally born of these strengths?  What industries?  What commercial capacities arise from our strengths? These are our best eggs in our best baskets.  This is not kumbaya.  It is “be who you be”, “do what you do”… and it is aligned strategy.

THIRD, our creativity.

How do we find and attract others in the world that share in these strengths of character… who want to be here and contribute and bring their cultural and world perspectives to our plate?  How do we advance our cultural strength and diversity, by attracting people who share in our spirit but might have different perspectives, experiences and skills to add to our creativity?

FOURTH, our courage… our entrepreneurial bent.

How do we unleash these strengths in smart and entrepreneurial ways?  How do we align our education and business models to deliver on these?

I offer no specific answers here… just questions.  The answers will come from us all, if we do this right.  But my suggestion is this.  Let us take a moment in our history to answer:

  • What are our collective strengths of character?
  • How can we commercialize them to sell to a much larger and diverse world?
  • Who should we attract to join our diverse, united and creative culture?
  • And how do we readily unleash it to serve the world and thereby bring in revenues, albeit in maybe smaller but more diverse and consistent parcels?

As a business educator, my hope is for 10% of our business and other graduates to set out with the intent of creating jobs, not finding them.  As entrepreneurs, Epic Engage is intent on being a small but global company in its reach and service, with The Virtues Project and beyond.   Our own vision and mission is world embracing.  We intend to serve outward while living and contributing right here.  We believe that a robust community of world embracing and locally committed entrepreneurs is part of the answer.

Global VirtuesSome may read this and think we don’t have time or that this is a waste of time.  Some may even laugh this off.  That would be unfortunate.  My suggestion is what I have told countless business students over the years.  You cannot successfully serve until you know your BEING and your DOING… your VISION and your MISSION.  Without knowing and being able to clearly articulate both… we do not know for what we are fighting or with what capacities we will conduct the fight.   With those firmly in place, and some good defense strategies to protect your behind, you can forge ahead.  Or, as Aragorn might say….

Stand!

This is just a starting point and these are just my thoughts.  But it is a starting point.  May we here in this place and time, or any place wrestling with its future in the present, find our way by starting with who we are, who we best serve, and how we best serve them.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

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