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Saturday, November 18, 2020

Divine Discontent

Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop chain of stores, has written a piece in The Financial Times in which she attacks business schools for their failure to understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Predictably, a range of business school spokespersons has sprung to their defense and attacked Ms. Roddick in return.

I don’t want to get involved in this argument, but I couldn’t help noting this comment from Ms. Roddick:
The problem with business schools is that they are controlled by, and obsessed with, the status quo. They encourage you deeper into the world as it is. They transform you into a better example of corporate man. We need good administration and financial flair, after all, but we need people of imagination too.
Whether or not business schools help potential entrepreneurial types, it is a valid point that too much of the business world in general suffers from this obsession with preserving the status quo.

Among the actions that Ms. Roddick suggests, these in particular seem to me to be likely to prove helpful to anyone who leads an organization:
  • Tell stories. The central tool for imagining the world differently and sharing that vision is not accountancy. It has more to do with the ability to tell a story.

  • Concentrate on creativity. It is critical for any entrepreneur to maximise creativity and to build an atmosphere that encourages people to have ideas.

  • Be passionate about ideas. Entrepreneurs want to create a livelihood from an idea that has obsessed them; not necessarily a business, but a livelihood. When accumulating money drives out the ideas and the anger behind them, you are no longer an entrepreneur.

  • Feed your sense of outrage. Discontentment drives you to want to do something about it. There is no point in finding a new vision if you are not angry enough to want it to happen.
Complacent, satisfied, comfortable people do not make change. Why should they? Nor do those who have been convinced by anyone that the way things are today represents the best of all possible worlds—or, at least, the only kind of world that is possible.

Let us cherish our imagination, our vision, our discontent, and, above all, our sense of outrage at the mess we see around us. Maybe then we will summon up the courage to do something about it.

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2 Comments:

Robert Pearson said...

I have enjoyed your blog since I discovered it via a quote, with a URL - Thank God!, on a technical European Web site.

So far you have provided some real "Food for Thought" and many wonderful diagrams.

With regard to this post "Divine Discontent" I am pleased and amused by the commentary. The byline should be "Know Your Animal Image!".

Are you a Prince or a frog? A goat or a sheep? A Princess or a troll?

The "goat or a sheep" fits this situation to a "T". Business likes to think it is characterized by bold thinking and initiatives. Not true. Business is characterized by being able to glibly take advantage of innovations "not invented here" and still sleep at night. These are characteristics of sheep.

Innovation is characteristic of goats. There are a lot more sheep than goats. It works better that way.

I gotta be me! I gotta be me! I did it my way!

1:28 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks for your comment, Robert. I love the animal images.

Keep reading, my friend.

8:10 AM  

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