"The new normal?"

CHRO Magazine - Column 4

July 30, 2020

Anne Jaakke

HR Innovator | Sr. Leadership | International HR consultant | CHRO Coach | Founder #Fantistics |  CHRO of the year 2016
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The new normal?

Will I ever get used to it? Will being an entrepreneur one day feel normal? I wonder, it still feels like we are not talking about me, but about a label that I one day just decided to put on myself. Will wearing a mouth mask ever feel normal? I hope never!

Starting from the beginning

Someone recently asked me if I had different expectations about my entrepreneurship, what my big lessons are. My answer is a story about ladders.... 

It seems like we choose our career to be one out of 3 ladders to climb. The first option is the organisational ladder. You start immediately after you graduate and you try to climb the ladder as fast as you can, step by step up you go. Sometimes you find yourself standing still too long, sometimes you take 2 steps at a time, until one day you arrive at a certain step and it looks like you arrived at your final destination. The ultimate end station on this ladder seems to be  “the senior management” position. The more popular and bigger the company you work for, the higher you are regarded as a director amongst your peers.

The second ladder is that of being an entrepreneur. Here you start with the first step,  registering your new business at the Chamber of Commerce.  On this ladder some start without a diploma in their pocket but with ambition and hopes. In the beginning you climb with small steps and then bigger and bigger ones. Sometimes you even skip some steps. The ultimate goal here seems to be to create a super profitable business, or two. The higher the value of your company and the more popular amongst your customers and employees, the better.

And ladder 3? This one is for individual talent to climb; for artists, painters, writers, top athletes, vloggers… Individuals who excel in their category. Here success seems to be measured by the number of fans, followers, the number of gold records or medals or whatever prizes and awards apply to this category of talent.

I did learn something in my career so far?

So what is my lesson about these ladders? Well, I really expected that if you decide to jump from one ladder to another, you don’t have to start at the bottom of the ladder, that you don’t have to start all over again ... "Come on Anne, did you really expect that?" Well, uh.. yes, honestly I thought I could skip some steps, I actually hoped I could skip a lot… I did learn something in my career so far, not?

It looks like it’s not so much the knowledge, but your mentality, your mindset, your (lack of) experience and your age. This is what makes you take the next step on the ladder. Same principles for the steps on the ladder of #Fantistics. From a good idea, to a plan, to action, to a potential investor, to corona, to a change in strategy, to…? yessss, a new step has been reached… a strategic partner! It’s love at first sight and a perfect match!

 

Some things cannot be forced

We are still in the "prenup" phase, but it looks like a wedding is on the way. It's a partner we hoped for. Steady going, successful, innovative, honest, reliable. If it would have been up to me this moment should have happened already a couple of months ago, but apparently some things cannot be forced. Another lesson. 

"And is the knowledge I gained during the first ladder really irrelevant?" No, certainly not in my ladder 1 consultancy assignments and neither in something new that has emerged from being purpose driven and passionate about helping to create much loved popular companies. I now have a number of clients as a business energizer & coach. And what a wonderful and rewarding job it is to give others a new energy boost, tips and tricks and help them become more successful.

Unprecedented passion and perseverance

This work truly makes me happy. 80 percent of my clients are self-employed. I help them as an energizer, expert, sounding board, cheerleader and coach. Some are still climbing a steep ladder, 2-3 steps at a time if they could despite or because of corona, others are barely staying afloat. The challenges they are facing are  extremely diverse and difficult to deal with without a sparring partner. But the passion entrepreneurs have on ladder 2 is unprecedented and so is their perseverance.

Hopefully that behaviour will be my new normal and I would love to give all of you an infectious dose of that passion and perseverance as well, with or without a mouth mask.