Opinion

If you read the plethora of business books out there (and there are some good ones), participate in workshops, or seek advice from a business advisor or business coach – there will always be a ‘case study’, or a ‘mention’ of other businesses and organisations that  are doing well, even “punching above their weight”! They might be mentioned to exemplify a particular business tool, or a process, or an ethic that has substantially improved the productivity or bottom line (or both) of that organisation.

So why is it we require this proof, this additional encouragement? This is unclear – what proof? Going into business is a brave thing to do – and double the courage  is required in the current climate of economic uncertainty and change. It makes sense then, that if we can operate from a point of optimum stress, where the adrenalin is on slow release giving us regular energy boosts, and harness positive emotions such as trust and belief, we are likely to perform better on cognitively demanding tasks and trigger left brain (logical) and right brain (creative) activity.

In a negative mindset and periods of high stress, the amygdala (which plays a primary role in decision making and emotional reactions) can take over and prepare the body for crisis. At this point ‘gut instinct’ is often useless and most of our actions are reactions, with very little long term or strategic planning and thought.

Creatives and innovators never stagnate. And they constantly push forward, rarely considering anything problematic, instead thinking in terms of ‘solutions’. Instead of thinking they’ve hit a brick wall, they think of the challenge that has been presented; instead of giving up, they think of the opportunities adversity  presents. The emphasis is on think.

We are all familiar with the success stories of internationally renowned entrepreneurs and their companies – Facebook, Google, Virgin, Apple, Dyson, Spielberg, Colonel Sanders. There is no doubting that we are intrigued and encouraged by  their successes but  teir failures actually provide us with a more valuable lesson about determination and persistence – after all, Dyson reached prototype #5,127 before he hit the bagless vacuum jackpot, Apple started in a garage and The Body Shop was born out of desperation.

Every now and again it’s also good to be inspired by businesses closer to home – and this is  a little less awe-inspiring and international. For that, we need look no further than magazine renegade Collective, which at Issue 10 continues to invigorate readers with stories of successful entrepreneurs, many of them Australian Made. The magazine itself is the result of entrepreneur Lisa Messenger’s desire to encourage and promote entrepreneurial behavior and inspire people to follow their dreams.

And of course there is the BRW Most Innovative Companies List, which has acknowledged 50 Australian companies for their innovative and often collaborative and empowering modi operandi. Examples of successful local businesses include Boost Juice, High Tea With Mrs Woo, Mortels Sheepskin Factory and Hummingbird Electronics.

Success is measurable but not always identified by common indicators. For some, success is defined as an improved bottom line, while for others it could be supporting and empowering their workforce to excel, retaining loyal and enthusiastic employees, or ensuring the organisation’s corporate social responsibility.

On Friday 16th May 2014, SiDCOR Chartered Accountants (another local innovative and entrepreneurial company) will present the BRW Most Innovative Companies Breakfast Event. The philosophy behind bringing executives from these leading organisations to Newcastle, is to inspire Hunter Businesses and to discover promote? ways to embed innovation into workplace culture. It is also about encouraging adaptive practices, also known as modifying a concept and making it applicable to a completely different situation.

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