Don’t we all wonder about how to get inspired for the next business venture? Where do we look?
A great many articles about how innovators eat, breathe and have their being have been written before but I don’t know! Is it just me or is it that they never really seem to work?
Well, here is what worked for me. One thing to take from it all is the fact that you are different and what works for you shouldn’t necessarily work for the so-called successful businessmen
Once Upon a Time
A long time ago, in a land far away, lived a young man. Okay, scrap that. It wasn’t really long ago. It was just April 2016.
After conclusion of my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, I joined a small startup company where I truly fell in love with practical innovation. At the time, I didn’t know that I was in love but as of now, I know I was.
The Job Posting
I still wonder if it was love at first sight or not. I was sent to head a technical team remote from the classy headquarters. This team was one rowdy one I must say.
For a newbie as I was back then, having to deal with a bunch of rowdy guys had to be a tough job. Some of these guys often felt the need to show their superiority over me owing to the fact that I had ‘found them there’.
I had actually been more or less dumped on these guys. The bosses from HQ (headquarters) hadn’t so much as introduced me to the team. I wasn’t even told of their different roles or what my role in relation to theirs was.
Now, you may be quick to ask, ‘But you said you were sent there to head the team?’ A simple answer is heading a team is a very general term.
The roles involved in it will be different for every team, depending on the roles already given to the other team members.
The Pains of Leading an Unwilling Team
This is where I first met practical innovation. She was seated alone at the counter across the room where I sat musing over my work problems.
At that point, if I hadn’t lifted up my head to say a little prayer, I would have missed her. My instincts before that had been to drown myself in self-pity and in annoyance at these bosses of mine.
‘How dare they do that to me?’ ‘I will show them what I am made of!’ ‘When I leave this place, they will never forget me!’ ‘In fact all employees who come after me will be told of the guy that was!’
Those were some of the thoughts that ran through my mind.
They say a simple prayer in faith goes a long way. In fact many of the articles you will read about successful businessmen will have a perverted version of this. They will say ‘Believe in yourself!’
I tried believing in myself, trust me. I tried lots of ways to get the team to warm up to me but the more I tried, the more I got frustrated.
The bosses expected me to have certain things done by the team. I would thus agree with the team to do those things only to be disappointed at the eleventh hour.
The team, without informing me, would make its own decision and do something else. I would then be tagged as a non-team-player if I found myself alone doing what the team and I had decided to do
The Encounter with Practical Innovation
Okay, enough of my miseries! Focusing on these usually distracts you from seeing the lady at the counter, her highness practical innovation.
The simple prayer meant I cease believing in myself and I start believing in God, the One I know for sure wouldn’t fail.
When I looked up, I saw her. The miseries had led me to her. If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t have realized that even if the team ‘hated’ me, they hated their work problems more!
Yes! Right there was the discovery of a lifetime. All people have challenges! Solve those challenges and your race, appearance, age or whatever won’t matter!
So here is what happened. The Technical team was tasked to repair faulty electronic products returned by customers. It would then have to keep track of these products and report any significant trends to Management.
However, this team, with my exception, was composed entirely of artisans or technicians. These are guys who are really good at handiwork but terrible at data collection, analysis and reporting. This is probably because they hate doing these things.
Becoming a Superstar
This discovery effectively gave me nuclear capability! All I needed to do was to automate some Google Sheets using Google App Script and the rest is history.
The team, which previously spent close to 75% of its time doing what it hated and was terrible at, became more efficient and happier!
It could now focus more on the things it considered more fun e.g. actual repair of the electronics.
I don’t want to brag but as a result of that, I became a superstar in the team. I was ‘The Guy’. As a result of my falling in love with practical innovation, my team warmed up to me.
I got much more than I would have if I hadn’t looked up from pondering on my miseries to see opportunity
The Moral of the Story
To conclude this very nice story, if you haven’t picked anything yet, here is what you should go with.
- Stop struggling. If you are religious, take a moment and say a simple sincere prayer. If you are not religious, well what are you waiting for? Seek God; that is your only way out.
- With struggle gone, you can see clearly the opportunities that lie in your ‘misery’. Take the opportunity.
- Repeat from step 1 when the next misery strikes. Remember, the best solutions are usually got from personal encounters with the problems. Smile then, for the misery is your chance to create a remarkable solution