If my account resonates with any of the membership then I would be more than happy to meet and share from my experience if time permits. I know the Corporate beast well and am of the view that it exists to serve your needs until it is redundant. The trick is to know how to control it rather than "it" controlling you. I am also interested to meet with people who would like to talk through and be considered for the experience we offer. Once we have more substance to hand I will offer to make presentations to interested people.
Simon Middleton voluntarily resigned his global HR leadership role to set up a business committed to identifying 80 entrepreneurs annually and seeding the British economy with a new generation of wealth builders.
If my account resonates with any of the members then I would be more than happy to meet and share from my experience if time permits. I know the Corporate beast well and am of the view that it exists to serve your needs until it is redundant. The trick is to know how to control it rather than 'it' controlling you.
I am also interested to meet with people who would like to talk through and be considered for the experience we offer.
I have built a 14 day residential programme that works with 20 young entrepreneurs (usually between the ages of 20 -30, though not exclusively) to prepare 5 ideas into business plans. These are presented to investors who share my passion for wealth creation and understand "relational economics". The aim is to offer at least 4 of these a year.
We use behavioural profiles and insights that allow us to predict entrepreneurial capability to a high 72%. This allows us to de-risk people for investors and consult on how to ensure high quality execution of the business plan.
My current activity is 4-fold: targeted and intense communication of the vision to financial stakeholders, getting the word out to young entrepreneurs who would like to join the second pilot from 22nd April to 5th May, building an identifiable brand, and preparing for the course. There will be no barrier of access to a qualifying entrepreneur.
"Watershed Entrepreneurs Ltd" is the name of the organisation.
I have worked in a range of ever increasingly responsible HR roles for 27 years in well recognised companies - Hewlett-Packard, Philip Morris, PwC, and for the last 10 years as Senior Vice President for Lufthansa Services Group, the world's largest airline caterer.
My roles have almost always been in 'greenfield' situations or environments experiencing massive change or diversity (namely, South Africa, the growth of Central and Eastern European economies and then of course globally).
I left because I am, by nature, interested in transformation and my role was becoming increasingly transactional. The CEO needed a bureaucrat and this is not how I add value. I nevertheless enjoyed almost every moment of my last role.
I have dreamt for years about leaving the Corporate world and integrating all I have experienced with what I believe about the interface between a person and 'work'.
Corporates can be incredibly destructive and wasteful of human talent and heart. It has something to do with the corrosive nature of power.
My 'aha!' moment came when I took a month out in February 2011 to slow down and listen to my heart rather than my very persuasive mind.
I decided to hike from the top of Table Mountain, Cape Town to Cape Point - a 100km mountain trail. As I walked through the gate at the end of the walk, I had a clear sense that I faced a choice of whether I wanted to 'exist' or to 'live'? It was an audible voice. I chose to 'live', with the consequence that I needed to resign and follow the dream - which is to 'proclaim and ignite abundance'.
Doing this at 58 was not a 'slam dunk' but there is now no turning back and no regret either.
I had facilitated many peoples' exits and so I set about planning my own in a similar way.
It was immensely important for me to negotiate from a position of integrity (which is my form of "strength"). This meant I was absolutely transparent with the CEO and Board. I ensured that I kept my counsel and did my best to continue performing at full capacity/engagement to the end. I created a financial bridge which was felt fair for both sides and have also deferred bonus payouts to avoid tax.
I evaluated how much capital is in my house and ensured that my financial commitments to my children's education was complete. I have no debt other than a mortgage. Savings are moderate even though we live modestly - tax at my salary level has been substantial and we are active givers to charity. I will use some savings to fund the business and am moving into a directorship with a small, niche-based training/leadership business which will benefit from my international big business experience.
The worst has been my own fear of debt, a sometimes paralysing anxiety about my age and, bizarre as it may seem, a sense of possible failure. I have always had big dreams and visions which seem to evaporate when confronted with "practicalities".
While I am very good at motivating and hoping for others, I struggle to hold the same expectations for myself. So to step over 'my shadow' has taken, I believe, considerable courage and I realise now that there have been singular moments in my life when I do break the mould.
Corporate life - its politics and compromises had also exhausted me. However the antidote to this kind of exhaustion is 'wholeheartedness'. Pushing one's life to a frontier or the edge of a comfort zone is liberating and exhilarating. Curiously I feel more alert and engaged on this side of the decision to quit. The creativity quotient has leapt and I know that I am doing now what is 'right'.
I have regained life and possibly only lost a lifestyle.
I was greatly helped by reading David Whyte's book, http://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Sea-Work-Pilgrimage-Identity/dp/1573221783" rel="nofollow">"http://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Sea-Work-Pilgrimage-Identity/dp/1573221783" rel="nofollow">Crossing the Unknown Sea - Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity". The core issue for me has been one of meaning and identity. He tackled this in language and shared experience that helped crystallise many of my thoughts and experiences. I read it, in fact 3 times!
I don't believe that this is solely a rational journey. For me it has as much to do with the heart and, if I am truthful, I had ignored its claim to be heard. I think we are trained to listen first to our mind and then our heart. The belief is that our hearts are fickle and unreliable. I now believe that it is completely the reverse. The best advice I had was to listen to my heart and trust its integrity.
My brother gave the best advice - jump and trust the process.
As mentioned, David Whyte is an author who had the guts to do what I did, but only much earlier in life. He also has the skill to write with authority and insight about the process that greatly encouraged me. His two books were influential:
Malcolm Gladwell's books, http://www.amazon.com/Tipping-Point-Little-Things-Difference/dp/0316346624/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328453954&sr=1-1" rel="nofollow">"The Tipping Point" and http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Power-Thinking-Without/dp/0316010669/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328453976&sr=1-1" rel="nofollow">"Blink" also pushed my thinking to action.
Finally, the book, http://www.amazon.com/Starfish-Spider-Unstoppable-Leaderless-Organizations/dp/1591841836/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328454001&sr=1-1" rel="nofollow">"The Starfish and The Spider" by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom articulated a view on Corporate life that I recognised and was no longer ready to defend or serve.