Monthly Archives: November 2015

Keep on going…

This blog has been over two years in the making. At the outset, I sought to link management theories to best practices in Latin America. I have endeavored to provide inspiration to entrepreneurs, managers, leaders and decision makers that will make their organizational efforts resound with people and, in particular, users in Latin America.

For me, as Esther Clark and Founding Partner of Hipona Consulting, it has been a journey of exploration and learning. There are weeks when it is hard to find inspiration in the world around me. It is also difficult to find examples of leaders in real life; even when I know those leaders exist but are barred from acting like leaders because ego, legacy, comfort or other factors in their personal or professional lives. That’s why I think this blog and the messages I relate are important.

While I journey towards new professional challenges, I urge you to come along with me. To “keep on going” towards promoting better management practices, exploring new markets or focusing more on the clients we have. From my side, I will be refocusing this blog to serve my clients better and to share what I have gained for working with boards and executives (and entrepreneurs!) in Latam: connecting interests.

Thank you to my loyal followers and for your comments and engagement over the years.

-EMC

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Savvy Saturday November 28th, 2015

“Action without study is fatal. Study without action is futile.”

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Savvy Saturday November 21st, 2015

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. – Coco Chanel

 

Note: this is true for people and for organizations. Have a great weekend! – EMC

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Forgiveness

Recent events made me reflect on forgiveness; why can’t the word forgiveness have more presence in our world?

Our society was founded on great movements with visionary leaders that embraced the essence – and benefits – of forgiveness to build relevant communities, businesses and families.

There are many leaders that choose forgiveness over revenge, hate or indifference; the Civil Rights movements in the US, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and Gandhi’s peaceful revolution were all sparked by a shared belief in non-violent protest to change the status quo. Forgiveness can cross geographical, religious, racial, social, political, and economic barriers. It can even transcend time. Leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King became incredibly powerful by choosing to forgive. They forgave to be at peace with the present. Whatever happened to them or to their ancestors, they did not believe that ignoring the problem or encouraging hate was the answer. The answer, for them, was forgiveness; it was an action they could take – and they encouraged others to take – that would have a positive influence on a better future. The profound act of forgiveness made them visionary leaders.

I live in South America and far removed geographically from recent events in Europe and Asia. Nevertheless, I know community and business leaders who are victims of crime, of discrimination and of corruption. Some of them live with the expectation that the same negative things will happen to them again and some believe that their future can be different. It could be described as the difference between the fixed and growth mindsets. Naturally, there are also those people that are on the fence about their future; like most human beings, they experience moments when they are positive about the future and others when they keep thinking about the immitigable risks. I believe the gap between the two groups of people (or different feelings within the same person) is bridged by a simple phrase: “I forgive.”

“I forgive” is about creating peace with the present so that we can be open to new experiences. Forgiveness is personal because it has an impact on our lives even if the event happened long before we were even born or only yesterday. Making peace with ourselves and with people around us means acknowledging these terrible things – directly or indirectly – and making the decision that while events like these define part of our lives, they are not all defining, all-encompassing and all being. Human beings are bigger than the terrible things that happen to us and we can make change happen. Things can be different. Just like the brave leaders mentioned before, we don’t have to accept the status quo.

Maybe, just maybe, it is cool, it is relevant, and it is positive to forgive.

My idea is simple – say “I forgive”, post it, share it, write stories about it, make videos, take photos, make music, create art. Get the word “forgive” out there.

If we restore the word forgive to our vocabulary and to our lives, we can use it as an opportunity to build healthier businesses, communities and families. If we talk about building a better future for our children or future generations, forgiveness must be part of it.

– EMC

 

 

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Entrepreneurship – the bug that keeps on biting

I started my own business at the tender age of 13. I hired my first employee at the age of 15. I have gone through formal and informal business training. I have taken entrepreneurship courses, spoken to entrepreneurs, competed in business plan competitions and seen all my life’s savings disappear in a matter of a few years.

Entrepreneurship is difficult. I would welcome the opportunity to speak to anyone who tells you differently. Even entrepreneurs who have endless capital to burn still face uncertainty and daily challenges. Owning your own business is an endless challenge, an endless opportunity to improve yourself as well as those around you, and an endless journey that is not guaranteed to end successfully. For entrepreneurs, business is them and they are the business.

I mention that entrepreneurship is the bug that keeps on biting. From the many articles and books on the subject one would concur that entrepreneurship is not an attractive affair. Failure rates are high. Burn out rates are too. Families are torn apart. Yet what is it about entrepreneurship that keep the entrepreneur going despite all adversity?

The answer is complex. Perhaps a common theme in entrepreneurship is the opportunity to make a difference, the opportunity to create a destiny, the opportunity to place your mark upon the world.

Entrepreneurship is a beautiful expression of what it means to be human and to be “creative”. As babies we are born wanting to create. Some people express this through art others hide their impulses in order to fit into stereotypes or expectations that people have of them around them. Entrepreneurship is creation. And I guess that is why we want the bug to keep on biting…so we can continue to have the opportunity to create and make an impact on the world!

EMC

 

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Savvy Saturday November 14, 2015

Fred Rogers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

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Fail Fast? Fail Often?

There is a culture of failure inherent in entrepreneurship and in intrapreneurship (entrepreneurship within a larger organization or company). This culture is summed up in Silicon Valley’s startup mantra of “Fail fast. Fail often.” Failure is often celebrated by entrepreneurs and innovation experts as a way to get to success. A badge of honor to testify that they tried and failed before getting to the next big idea.

There is truth in this concept: in order to create something new or make unexpected connections between things, one has to embrace failure. In education, embracing failure is fundamental for students to take risks with their learning and the way they see the world and interact with it.

Should failure be celebrated? What happens when failure has tangible financial and opportunity costs for business not to mention its impact on entrepreneurs, their families and their friends. What happens when we have different ideas of failure? Has someone failed just because they don’t fit in with what society wants from them?

One of the best analogies of entrepreneurship is: “Starting a business is a lot like jumping out of an airplane and assembling the parachute on the way down.” But what happens around the entrepreneur?

In a series of articles, I will explore the question of failure and entrepreneurship and share with you stories from the entrepreneurship (and intrapreneurship) scene around me. Check out the hashtag #resilientwife to find out more about this new endeavor of mine.

Obviously, entrepreneurs want to talk about failure in the context of success – a sort of rite of passage or journey to creating something of value. Understandingly, no one wants to be defined as a failure or be told that their business is a failure. Here lies the challenge…to represent failure, entrepreneurship and resilience accurately.

EMC

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