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Your Journey

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3 minutes

The stars were aligned & we put them there. There’s no luck about it.

by Julie Perkins

It was November 2011. 

I hung over the balcony with 2 of my leadership team at our company wide celebrations. Looking onto the dance floor and bar below, 700 people were dancing enthusiastically, throwing their heads back laughing. With each overzealous dance move, you could feel it, as if each one was powered by the success that we had achieved. 

After 3 years of trading with a new brand in Europe’s challenging recession, we had now touched the market position we had battled relentlessly to achieve. With a past pattern of 1 step forward, 2 steps back, this year – at last – was different. “I can’t believe this year,” I shouted above the noise from the band. “It feels like the stars aligned for us.” 

Hanny turned to Linda and I and said, “we aligned them.”

She was right. The expression implies that the seamless feeling of perfection aligning everything at the right place and time comes down to luck. But it all had happened without it. We had spent the previous 6 months purposely placing key areas in alignment so the impact of our strategies and processes was greater. This had made it feel like a more natural flow of events that all seemed to happen at the right time. 

We had shifted from chasing opportunity to people wanting and chasing us. That’s not luck. 

The alignment of the stars and what unity really feels like was so powerful, it was like you could touch it. Over the past 10 years, I’ve never forgotten this moment; achieving a point of success that everybody owns, bringing an equality that is difficult to describe.

You’re the one that can align the stars

As your company continues to trade, you need to step to the side briefly, taking a moment to mentally go back to the start. Becoming aligned is not an activity you can just add in. You have to look at your company with a day 1 “what was my original purpose?” hat on. View the journey of your purpose through the company’s ecosystem that you have so brilliantly created, all the way to assessing its impact onto your customer and community, whilst seeing everybody’s contribution to making it happen. Everybody includes you, as the founder, your team, partnerships, shareholders and perhaps investors, as well as the very customer themselves. They are all part of the community you serve.

“Forward-looking companies should embrace the challenge of building a purpose-driven environment that intersects with their business interests. And as leaders, our most important job is connecting our team to that guiding mission.” [1]

Alignment of the stars comes from bringing everybody into one shared picture, so they can contribute to making that picture stronger and brighter, leading the growth journey with a shared vision of why we are all there and the roles we all have to play. This allows each person in your total ecosystem to feel recognised, served and appreciated, and balances the elements of your organisation to support growth in the right way and ensure equality always remains. 

These are the stars that, when aligned, get you feeling that powerful sense of unity we felt that night. Alignment takes commitment, however, it’s so very worth it. 

The world is asking for this style of company and leadership

The relevance of this story is that, although the scene is set in 2011, this unified approach is what the world is now beginning to ask for more honest companies that simply do the right thing for the customer and the community. Those that want to build a lasting relationship, those that involve their teams and customers, and base their financial outcomes on the value they are providing, those that ensure care runs through the organisation into the community to which they serve. These companies are a collective force doing the right thing and you can’t green wash that! 

“A higher purpose is not about economic exchanges, it reflects something more aspirational than that.” [2]

And the most beautiful bit? You are the person best placed to bring it

I can imagine, as a female entrepreneur, you will have a story like mine, of course you will. Collaboration, collective leadership, uplifting others, together thinking, awareness of a bigger picture beyond the company and a resilience to make a change for the better – these are all natural, feminine traits supported by a tendency to take a longer term view of growth, one that is linked to the purpose of the organisation, translated into short-term results.

With the consumer now asking for what your way of leadership and your business already bring, never has there been such a great time for female entrepreneurs to become a part of the success stories of post Covid times, and make an impact. The world is asking for what you naturally can give. 

“Teams who are…led by these capable women tend to outperform their peers…became more engaged, proactive and productive – and women were better than men at sparking that change.” [3]

Using my experience and a network of like-minded thinkers (and sometimes you as the readers), I would like to use this blog to promote the strength of female entrepreneurs, turning theories into stories from the eyes of you, so every entrepreneur has more ideas to build the strength of their business platform, to create a more seamless journey towards the next growth era, and to realise along the journey that you are only building on what you do naturally. 

So, what now? 

Believe and step forward.

For as long as there are female entrepreneurs who want to grow, our blog will strive to support you. The opportunity is now, and maybe you don’t even realise that you already hold it within reach.

Read more about Julie in her founder’s story >

References:
[1] Why Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs Focus on the Bigger Picture, Entrepreneur. Sep, 2020 
[2] Creating A Purpose Driven Company, Harvard Business Review, Robert E. Quinn and Anjan V. Thakor. Aug, 2018 
[3] Women Are Natural Servant Leaders, But Need Encouragement To Take On The Role, Forbes, Feb, 2020