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Upcoming Speaking Engagements

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I am excited to tell you about two of my upcoming speaking engagements. Both topics will be one of my four Empowerment Engagements (tm). If you are in the Atlanta area, hopefully you will be able to attend.

*September 25, 2007
Small Business Workshop
Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council
Strategic Supply Chain Selling: How to Create Value & Win Corporate Contracts
Click here to register.


*October 1, 2007
Conference Breakout Session
2007 Annual Conference for Utility Purchasing Management Group (UPMG)
Best Practices in Utility Supplier Diversity
Click here to register.

If you are interested in bringing one of these or my other Empowerment Engagements (tm) to your organization, please send me an email to empowerment@biznovations.net.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Designed for a Purpose - September 23, 2007

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Empowerment comes in various form and methods. Dress for Success, Inc. is a national non-profit that helps promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and a network of support and career development tools to help women thrive in the workplace and in life.

On Sunday, September 23, in Atlanta, GA, this powerful organization will host a competitive fashion show, entitled "Designed for a Purpose". The purpose of this event is to raise money and awareness for this great cause. There will be celebrity appearances, live performance, and much more!

Please visit designedforapurpose.org to get more information.



If you are in the Atlanta area, I hope you will be able to support this special organization, either through a donation or by purchasing a ticket. If you don't live in Atlanta, check the Dress for Success website to see if there is a local chapter in your area. This could be a great opportunity for you to invest in someone else's dream.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

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Fighting for Your Dream

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A championship fight took place this past weekend that most people in America probably had no idea was happening. This was a fight between the UFC Champion and the Pride Champion. Most of you still don't know what I'm talking about. That's ok, keep reading.

http://www.mma365.com/


In the last few years Mixed Martial Arts (i.e., Ultimate Fighting Championship and Pride Fighting Championship) has had a meteoric rise into mainstream sports and entertainment. I am amazed at this, because what was once on the fringes of the sports world - many considered it not much more than barbaric street brawling - is now more accepted as a legitimate sport.

While I am not necessarily a fan of the sport overall, there is a lot that you and I can learn from these athletes. They have a passion, intensity, and drive for what they do that exceeds the average person (and maybe even the average athlete). The amount of punishment they give out and receive in one match is astounding. But one thing is for sure, they are not going to quit unless they get put into a submission hold or they get knocked out - whichever happens first.

Are you like that with your dreams? Do you have a fighter's mentality about your vision? Are you so committed to your idea that you won't quit until its accomplished? How resilient are you when you have setbacks? How resourceful are you when you run into roadblocks? What is your level of "stick-to-it-ness?" How much punishment are you willing to endure to ensure that your goals get accomplished?

They say the 3 P's of entrepreneurship are passion, patience, and perseverance. Of the three, I believe perseverance is the hardest to develop. The reason is that you usually have to get "beat up" a lot in the pursuit of your endeavor to develop a high level of perseverance. This is probably even harder for talented people, who are used to things coming to them very easily.

* If your vision or dream can be accomplished easily, it's too small!

* If you don't need anybody else's help to accomplish your vision or dream, it's too small!

* If your vision or dream only impacts you or your family, it's too small!

The truth is that nothing that's going to be great is going to be easy. So how do you develop a fighter's mentality that will allow you to dream big and then persevere to accomplish that dream? Here are 12 training pointers that will help you in your personal and professional development:

  1. Set big goals and small goals - Dream big! If you don't think you can win, then you've already lost. Establish intermediate milestones that represent mini-victories that you savor and cherish along the way to accomplishing the big goals. Reaching these milestones also helps you to grow your confidence, which you will need a lot of.

  2. Focus your vision on others - When your vision purposefully encompasses the impact that you expect to have on others, you will develop an internal motivation to see it all the way through to the end. So when your situation gets so challenging to the point that it seems overwhelming, think about all the people that will lose out if you don't accomplish your vision.

  3. Create a vision board - This is a visual tool that you create using words and pictures that you find in magazines or on the web that symbolize your vision, values, goals, personality, etc. You can post in your home or office in an area that you see all the time. So when times get really tough you can look at your vision board to help you get some motivation.

  4. Streamline your focus - Don't try to be "good" at 10 things. Strive to be "great" at 1 or 2. This will also help you to better manage your resources and time - which is your greatest resource.

  5. Challenge yourself - The skill of a sailor is not developed on calm seas. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and take some risks.

  6. Find a training coach - Connect with people who are "refiners". They push and challenge you to grow and develop. They have the ability to drive you harder and further than you would typically go on your own.

  7. Get some training partners - Connect with people who are "refreshers". These are peers who are fighting similar battles and can relate to what you're going through. They are not going to let you quit on your dreams and you don't let them quit on theirs.

  8. Eliminate distractions that discourage - Get rid of people or things that could derail you from your dream. This could also include negative personal habits that steal your time and thoughts away from activities that are healthy and productive. You always need your mind to be fresh and uncluttered so that you can receive new ideas.

  9. Learn from your experiences - Don't keep making the same mistakes. Actually apply what you learn so that you don't keep going around the same mountain unnecessarily. Also be flexible enough to make adjustments to your plan, because the pathway to your dream may take some unexpected twists and turns.

  10. Learn from other people's mistakes - You don't have to personally experience every class in the "school of hard knocks" if you can learn from other's mistakes. Whether you know them personally or learn about them through different media, simply read their life/business "cliff's notes" and apply what you learn.

  11. Embrace the journey - Perseverance is a developmental process not a destination. Write down your experiences and feelings in a journal as you go through this process. When you read about yourself 6 months or a year from now, you will be amazed at how much you have grown.

  12. Don't quit! - Make a pact with yourself that you will keep going no matter what happens. Prepare yourself to bounce back from setbacks. Develop a resolve that you will not stop fighting until your vision is accomplished.

Any dream that's worthwhile will not come easy. I heard a speaker once say that the theme of almost every success story has 3 key phases: 1) big dream, 2) big struggle, and 3) big success. If you have a dream, understand that you will have to go through a struggle to see it accomplished. And if you are in the midst of your struggle now, just keep fighting and believe that your success could be just around the corner!

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.


Related articles:
1) Rise Above It

2) Conquering F.E.A.R.

3) Ingredients for Winning



Tags: , entrepreneur


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Educating Entrepreneurs

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A few months ago I wrote a posting entitled, "Mirror Mirror." The main theme of that article was the necessity of entrepreneurs to have a "continuous improvement" mentality. To stay competitive in this dynamic global marketplace, we always have to consider various ways to improve our knowledge and skill sets. Sometimes, though, it's hard to figure out where to go to get the kind of training and development that we need to grow our businesses and ourselves.

Fortunately, help may be right around the corner from where you live. Every year there are a growing number of local colleges and universities which are providing special programs and workshops to help small business owners fill their knowledge and skill gaps.

Throughout the country this fall, similar to students from kindergarten to college, entrepreneurs are also going back to school. Businessweek writer Joyce M. Rosenberg noted in a recent article, "Small Business Owners Go Back to School":


"Colleges and universities around the country -- junior colleges as well as the big-name schools -- are an ever-growing resource for company owners looking to further their business education. And with many schools catering to small business owners, there is a huge range of individual courses as well as certificate and degree programs available. And many schools offer flexible-attendance programs and online learning."
Whether it be to improve your skills in technology, financial management, strategic planning, marketing, employee development or customer service, there is probably a course out there for you. Not only are these courses a good way for you to enhance your knowledge and skills, they are great networking opportunities. You will be able to build relationships with other small business owners while you are learning.

Entrepreneurs are leaders and leaders are learners. So, if you want to be an entrepreneurial leader, you need to make a commitment to become a life-long learner.

You might already be good at what you do, but you can always get better. Don't make excuses for not growing. With so many flexible learning options, including online, night and weekend courses, there is no reason why you can't take the time to improve yourself.

Don't stop learning! The more you grow, the more you will position yourself for long-term success.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.

Resources:
1) Small Business Development Centers
2) SCORE


Tags: , entrepreneur


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Social Innovation in New Orleans

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One of the main reasons I write my blog is to spark ideas for social innovation. So I get very excited when I hear or read about what other social innovators are doing in their communities. Currently, there is an innovative idea that is being proposed to help accelerate the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans. James Andrews writes on his Key Influencer blog that Friends of New Orleans is looking to bring a Presidential debate to the city.

The awesome thing is that the city has everything in place to make this happen, including the funding and hotel venue.

You can help make this happen. This campaign is targeting your Governor, members of the US Senate and members of the US House of Representatives. Click here and follow the directions.

In many ways it seems New Orleans is forgotten until it's time for a political photo op. There is still so much work to be done. This could be your opportunity to get involved in the rebuilding even though you don't live there. Let's pull together to make this happen for the people of New Orleans. The deadline is September 11th.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.


Link to Friends of New Orleans: http://friendsofneworleans.change.org/nonprofit_page/nonprofit_events/94511?event_id=14757

Tags: , New Orleans, economic development




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Powered by Intrapreneurship

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Unleash the power and potential of entrepreneurial energy inside your organization.

Most of what I write about is from an entrepreneur’s perspective, so many readers might tend to think that my only audience is other entrepreneurs. That is only partly true. The topics that I write about contain transferable principles that can be applied in any environment. But for those of you who work for an organization and still feel left out, this article is just for you.

Entrepreneurs don't just exist in small businesses. There are many people in the workforce who possess the skills and mindset of an entrepreneur, but don’t desire to deal with the challenges, issues, and difficulties of running their own enterprise. These are very talented employees who often seem out of place, because their personality profiles and work styles are at odds with the types of job assignments they are given. I call these people “intrapreneurs.”

What is an intrapreneur? The best definition that I have found is, “A person who focuses on innovation and creativity and who transforms a dream or an idea into a profitable venture, by operating within the organizational environment.” One of the reasons why I like this definition is that it closely aligns with one of the topics that I’ve been writing about recently, “visioneering.” In fact, I would say that intrapreneurs are visioneers.

Some key characteristics that intrapreneurs possess include:

  • Entrepreneurial thinking – Able to see what “can be.” Focus on finding solutions not complaining about problems. Inspired by obstacles. Use creative means to generate new ideas to solve old problems.

  • Visionary leadership – Help others see beyond their typical point of view and go further than they would have on their own. Leverage relationships effectively with those outside of own department to successfully complete projects. Able to navigate through the political potholes to get things accomplished.

  • Passion – When they are truly committed to something, they don’t settle for no. Their energy is infectious... or obnoxious, depending on the type of culture they work in.

  • Change catalyst – Always look to capitalize on opportunities for improvement. Favorite question is “why not?” Drive change by connecting people and simplifying processes.

  • Value generator – Build bridges between theory and practicality. Resourceful ability to utilize limited resources to achieve significant results. Understand key business fundamentals and how to apply solutions that help organizations make money or save money.

Today's workforce consists of many unsatisfied employees who are very frustrated in jobs that are routine, mundane, and unchallenging. They need to be given opportunities that will engage their imaginations, stretch their skills sets, and catalyze their creativity. Intrapreneurship is one way of doing this.

Similar to entrepreneurs, intrapreneus conceive great things and are effective at moving people toward their vision. They bring their vision to life with their ability to marshal the right resources at the right time to produce meaningful results. Often, they create new business models or different ways of doing things that result in innovative opportunities for the organization.

They are pioneers with no blueprint to follow. They can take ideas and concepts from diverse unrelated subjects and topics and integrate them into their own area in ways that move the organization forward in new directions. In the process, they can knowingly or unknowingly forge new career paths for themselves.

There may be many of you who are reading this, saying, “Yes! This is who I am!” But before you run out and tell your boss your new revelation, there are some critical aspects of intrapreneurship that you need to consider. Intrapreneurs have to be very careful in how they navigate through the corporate culture. If they are in a very conservative culture, they will either draw people or repel them. They will draw those who see things the way they do and desire change. They will repel those who are either adverse to change or are satisfied with the status quo.

Intrepreneurs are a rare breed in many organizations, so if they don’t handle themselves well, they can become outcasts. Many of their character traits, which would be celebrated if they were entrepreneurs, are sometimes not appreciated or understood in an organizational environment. Since they are just "employees", they at times can be viewed as impatient, impractical, ungrounded, arrogant, or overly aggressive.

I can relate to many of you who have experienced this in the past or who may be experiencing it right now. During my previous career at a Fortune 200 company, my entrepreneurial drive and energy were often squashed in the conservative culture in which I worked. I was often frustrated at the lack of desire of many employees and managers to even engage in conversations to explore new and better ways of doing things. There was an institutional arrogance that seemed to reject creativity and innovation, especially if it originated from sources outside of the organization. This was one of the key reasons why I left that company to start my own enterprise.

So how does an employee who may not be quite ready to become an entrepreneur, successfully transition into a career path that is more in line with their personality profile or work style? I’m glad you asked. In a future posting I will discuss how you can make a transition to becoming a successful and satisfied intrapreneur.

Empowering Champions,
Paul Wilson, Jr.


Intrapreneurship Resources
1. Intrapreneur.com
2. “Intrapreneur or Entrepreneur? Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by Andrew J. Birol
3. “Intrapreneur Exodus”


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