Leading Insights. Pam Says…

…part of the Diamond Dozen series

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Pam Bennett, GFI & COESI talks about

change  .  motivation  .  inclusivity

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Elaine…  You have successfully moved from public sector employment to founder and director of your own social enterprise. What advice would you give to someone embarking on a new business venture or career change which takes them out of their comfort zone?

From a business process point of view, make sure you thoroughly research the potential for your business idea – including what kind of company or sole trader you want to be, and sound out family and friends and as many people as possible about the idea. Listen carefully to their responses; make sure they are not saying things just to please you.  Prepare a Business plan; look in depth at all areas including the competition – which is not a bad thing as you know you can do it better! And do a full SWOT analysis.

Ideally it’s good to have the support of your immediate family as the venture is going to affect them in ways you cannot begin to imagine! Be prepared for it to cost at least 1/3rd more than you think it should and to take up just about all your time 24/7!

Personally, I love spotting an opportunity.  Seeing something that isn’t happening that should be happening.  When I feel really strongly I have to act regardless of whether it takes me out of my comfort zone.

Also I believe that when you are changing career direction or starting a new venture, it is important to remember that you are the sum of all your life experiences to date; good and bad.  This gives you your own unique bundle of skills and experience that will help to drive you forward.  You may not have done something before but your skills and experience working together at that point in time will help make a success of whatever you decide to do.

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Elaine…  I can remember the early stages of GFI and your tireless enthusiasm has never ceased to amaze me. What motivates you and how do you inspire others to get involved?

Pam…  I trained as an Architect and have always been interested in the built environment and how we negotiate it, at all and any stage of our lives – for babies/children, adults, older people and people with disabilities.

There are many barriers out there and once I realised what I had learned about how people access the space and resources around them I wanted to make our world a better place. It is such a good feeling when you get positive feedback.  Worth its weight in gold!

I feel strongly that any business is only as good as its staff and therefore that we need to lead rather than manage people – treat your people well and let them know when a job is well done – praise can be a great reward.

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Elaine…  Inclusion is something that matters to you greatly.  What 3 top tips would you give to emerging leaders wishing to develop a culture of inclusivity?

Pam…  I believe in setting an example of inclusivity from the top.

(1)  Train yourself and staff to understand equality issues and make sure you know how to treat people appropriately if they are from different cultural backgrounds or have disabilities.

(2)  Equality is a market leader – this is one way you can be better than the rest and by being inclusive you can attract business others do not.

(3)  Make your work space as accessible as you can to suit all people. If you do this at the start it does not need to be expensive.

 

Diamond_DozenLearn more about my Diamond Dozen…

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