Experiencing an “Aha!” moment is really fun, especially when you know one is coming – and when that moment leads to a breakthrough.
Last week I presented the concepts of Entrepreneurial DNA and BOSI to a group of fifty folks in Chicago. Participants included a great mix of entrepreneurs, community leaders, people from the small business development and economic development agencies.
I started by presenting the BOSI Quadrant, which allowed everyone to quickly identify individual entrepreneurial styles and traits – the “Aha!” moment. Then we split into four groups, each DNA type gathering at a different table hosted by a BOSI partner.
For participants “Aha!” became a breakthrough event for a number of reasons:
1. Each entrepreneur spent quality time with people they could truly relate to: People who share their strengths, weaknesses and frustrations. They no longer felt alone, knowing others felt the same joys and pains in their business lives. There was an instant connection amongst each group, a connection that is very empowering.
2. Each entrepreneur shared his or her story in a very different way. During most “Tell us about yourself and your business” roundtable discussions, elevator pitches dominate the conversation as each entrepreneur tries to “sell” others. (After all, isn’t elevator pitching what we’re told to do?) In this case, each group shared an instant connection: Since we had already discussed the strengths and weaknesses of their particular DNA, they instead dove headfirst into discussing their challenges and needs. People spoke with a level of authenticity rarely seen at group events.
Each table quickly built a real sense of community, which is my hope for the BOSI online community as well – we can all speak with greater authenticity and build stronger communities when we set aside our masks.
3. Connections were much more meaningful. When entrepreneurs at the table asked each other for their business cards, I noticed they didn’t take the usual “grab and stash” approach. Instead, they made a “grab, read carefully, make notes on the card and then carefully place in a safe location” exchange of cards. Compared to the typical business card exchange, I feel sure stronger business alliances and more commerce will result.
4. Learning was richer. I personally led the table of Innovator DNA entrepreneurs. Because we had like DNA, we didn’t waste time on irrelevant subjects. We were immediately tackled issues Innovator DNA entrepreneurs face. We spoke in detail about human capital challenges, business management frustrations, and even overcoming personal obstacles. We accomplished (and gained) more in forty-five minutes than an eight-hour seminar with a so-called “guru” preaching a one-size-fits-all approach from the front of the room.
5. The larger group dynamic was… dynamic! When we regrouped, it was amazing to see the lightning bolts of energy flash as entrepreneurs compared their BOSI Profiles and table experiences with each other. The environment was energetic and electric. Why? For the first time, these entrepreneurs were recognized for what they really are – individuals. Individuals with unique traits who no longer have to “compete” with each other in areas where they were gifted or weak. Instead, collaboration ruled the day, with a spirit of, “Hey, if you’re great at selling and I’m great at process, maybe we can help each other out,” filling the room.
All in all, this was the first of what I hope will be thousands of events around the world where entrepreneurs meet, learn, and collaborate in new, more productive, and more empowering ways. But that will take an army of leaders around the world who “get” the breakthrough of Entrepreneurial DNA and bring it to their local entrepreneurial eco-systems.
But because I know the impact it will have on your business…and your life.