Archive for December, 2007
Here’s an article wot I wrote which explains my frustrations with some aspects of the Social Enterprise sector here in the UK and some thoughts about how it will develop over time.
We speak to a lot of people who are desperate to find their dream job. It’s one of the perennial problems of the modern day and there are many good reasons for getting it right. Work doesn’t seem like work if you’re doing what you love and you’ll most likely be much better at it and even better paid.
We believe that jobs which contribute towards sustainable development help give people a heightened sense of meaning and therefore love for their job – that is why we do what we do here at Bright Green.
But, it’s not at all easy to find that position. Even if you have an idea of what you want to do, which many people don’t, it takes time, dedication and self-awareness to find something that’s ‘right’ for you.
Here is a great article by Liz Ryan, which helps answer some of those questions and offering some valuable advice for people looking. After all, the first step in finding that dream job is being proactive, visualising and then going out and finding it. Additionally, if you’ve found the company you want to work for, and the ‘right’ job isn’t on their website, be persistent! It’s often easier to persuade someone to create your dream job for you (if you’re passionate enough) than it is to find it.
Part of our commitment to growing (see value 2) is refining the ways we work to ensure we’re making the most of our time and maximising our output. And as any entrepreneur/manager will tell you, this requires sometimes making tough choices (see value 4 – go the values!)
Here is a great article (with some good links to further articles) which might help and here are my additional thoughts:
1) Taming emails
Increasingly, I am unable to respond to all the emails I receive, resulting in some tough ‘delete’ decisions for emails I’d like to respond to. If you receive 150 emails a day, and can only write 100, you have to get a PA, or learn to delete, cut back and write shorter replies. Sorry to those of you who don’t get replies from me, but it’s not physically possible to reply to everyone! This article is a great starting point for solving your email-blues.
2) Eliminate unnecessary meetings
It makes sense, but is difficult to do. I always try to call people first as opposed to meet with them, saving time and carbon! Yes, a meeting is very valuable and 10 mins in a meeting is worth 30 on the phone, but you need to work out which meetings to attend.
A couple of extras from me:
3) Let people leave you a message
Don’t pick up your mobile if you don’t recognise the number. Ring them back when you’re ready for the call!
4) Plan your day
15 mins spent planning at the beginning of the day will be worth at least that by the time you finish. It also helps you compartmentalise your mind so you’re not juggling 15 thins at once.
5) Taking time with important things
Alongside all of this time-saving, there must be the understanding and commitment to spending time with the things that are important, whether exercising, talking to colleagues or getting some R&R. A hero of mine (Leonard Cheshire) said ‘When you have a pile of work to get through, pick up each piece as if it’s the only thing you’re doing to do that day’. Which I translate to mean, do 5 things well, not 10 things badly, because in the end, it’ll be worth it.
Oh and 6) Enjoy the extra time you create!
Well, it seems that we managed to beat the BBC by 3 hours. Here is an article from the site talking about economy fears hitting recruitment. I imagine that although the environmental job market may be affected, that many of them are driven by policy changes, not the economy. Additionally with public and media sentiment driving the agenda, and climate change at the forefront of people’s minds, it is likely that jobs connected with this and related issues will continue to grow. After all, the more talented people we can get to help solve these issues, the more likely it is we can create lasting change.
It was good and interesting to note that in the recent Sunday Times Fast Track supplement, there were 17 recruitment agencies. Although I haven’t had time to check previous Fast Track supplements, I imagine that recruitment agencies flourish particularly when the market is buoyant and suffer when it is not – and that this is indicative of the frothy market we are seeing at the moment. Setting up a recruitment business doesn’t necessarily require a big capital investment – anyone can do it with a desk or a telephone. What is difficult is doing it well, carving a niche for yourself and separating your company from the crowd. I hope that our story, our focus and our values (see previous postings) help continue to distinguish us when the market turns.
Our first organisational value is to be passionate professionals and I was thinking about what makes a passionate professional and how, as a business owner, I might attract more to come and join us as we grow.
It seems to me that passion can lead to professionalism, but professionalism is unlikely to lead to passion. This is why we hire people with a passion for the environment, not professionals recruiters. To date, this tactic has served us well and clients enjoy working with people who share their outlook. Teaching professionalism is difficult with some, but it can be taught. Passion, I believe, is something that cannot be taught – which is why we’ll only ever hire passionate people.
As a business founder, it’s sometimes difficult to express what you’re trying to achieve when you build a company. How do you communicate your vision to staff and stakeholders and how to ensure you have their buy-in?
I’m very happy with the values Bright Green developed as a team. I believe that they encapsulate not just what we’re doing, but how we aim to go about growing and developing as an organisation.
Additionally, setting values with the help of your staff helps ensure that they believe in these aims. An entrepreneur wants to leave their staff to be as autonomous as possible, as such these values help guide people within the organisation when they are confronted by a dilemma or a decision that might need to be made without guidance.
So, without further ado – here they are:
Be Passionate Professionals: We are passionate about what we do, which we strive to combine with unwavering professionalism.
Whether it’s how to present yourself at a client meeting, or who we hire, we want to be guided by passion and professionalism. The combination of these two forces together is what’s important – one but not the other is not good enough for us.
Constantly Growing: We aim to continually learn and improve, both individually and as an organisation.
Business provides continuous opportunity for growth and we are excited by the possibility of what being attentive to our growth can bring us personally, as well as financially.
Use our Internal Compasses: We want act rather than react, using our beliefs and considered judgement to guide us as we work.
Throughout modern society, I’m surprised by how often people react as opposed to act as a result of situations that unfurl, whether in business, politics or day to day. We want to try to take a step back and act on the basis of our morals and through consideration, not as a result of a knee-jerk reaction.
Be Courageous: We recognise that the easy choice is not always the right choice.
Throughout your day/life, there are countless times when it’s easier to avoid doing something, even if that something would bring about greater rewards, whether spiritually or financially. We want to try to be brave enough to do the difficult things if it means that we’ll grow and do the right thing.
Inspiring Hiring: We only hire people who inspire us, and want our clients and candidates to be inspired by one another.
Even when a candidate has ticked all the boxes, sometimes you’re left with a feeling that they wouldn’t inspire us. We try, wherever we can, to listen to that feeling.
Aside from the last value, I’ve been using these in my day to day, as well as at the office, which is perhaps testament to how pleased I am with them.
Why blog? – so that thousands of people can read my wise musings?
Unlikely! Instead, we here at Bright Green eco-towers thought it would be a nice way of sprinkling a bit more personality through our corporate veil, and also because it serves as a useful discipline for us – to muse, consolidate thoughts and expound on our discussions as we grow as a company and as people. Every day we’re faced with decisions, ideas, thoughts and insights into the world of finding people careers, sustainability, entrepreneurship and other topics we’re passionate about. Many people come to us for advice, wisdom (rarely) and direction and hopefully this is a way of further sharing our knowledge, or lack of it. As such, I hope that my writing here will help me and the company grow as much as it will help those who do choose to read.