- June 11, 2019
- Lis Williams
I’ve spent most of my life in the left side of my brain. 🧠
My natural tendencies favor anything analytical and logical. And growing up I didn’t think I possessed an ounce of creativity. Maybe you can relate.
So going to business school made perfect sense. I majored in finance in both undergrad and graduate school. I worked at a bank. Numbers were my friend.
As I gained more experience, I realized that I also love anything to do with strategy. I LOVE setting goals in both my business and personal life and then figuring out the path to achieve them. It’s a gratifying process for me.
The first half of my life has been characterized by the pursuit of knowledge, common sense, and frugality. All traits that lend themselves well to entrepreneurship.
The years I spent as a stay at home mom challenged my innate abilities.
As much as I tried to maintain order, my children had different plans.
And motherhood naturally encouraged me to explore my more feminine traits – those of nurturing, caring, and compassion.
It was like re-discovering a piece of myself that I didn’t remember existed. And it’s always a good thing to come to know yourself more fully.
However, there were still things that were not in my wheelhouse. I remember going across the street to my friend Mo’s (who is very creative) to pick up my kids. The kitchen floor was covered in artistic paraphernalia and Mo informed me that the kids were doing collage work. “Really”, I responded, “that’s a thing?”
Do it the way you’ve always done it? No way! 🙅♀️
So when I launched AWE Partners, my wise friend Bridget said to me, “You’re going to want to go back and do things like you used to. Don’t!”
What she meant was that I would likely go straight back to running my business from my head exclusively. And although that might garner some level of success, it would no longer be representative of who I was fully.
I was a different person than I was when I worked in the business world. There I fit in by displaying my more masculine traits.
Now to be successful and fulfilled, I need to bring my whole self to the business. The masculine and the feminine. My head and my heart.
In some ways this has been easy. Like when I write, I find it very easy to share things from the depths of my soul. Or when I work with my clients or have conversations with partners and colleagues, being authentic happens naturally for me.
But when I’m making strategic decisions, my tendency is to go back into my head and figure out what makes sense.
Here’s the problem when you’re creating a business…
The problem is that when you’re “creating” a business the answers don’t always emerge from your head. Very often they come from a deeper place within.
And it’s rare that the answers are clearly laid out for you in a straight line that’s easy to follow. More often, if you’re listening, they come as an intuitive sense or gut feel about what to do next.
In truth, what you “hear” may not make sense at all. It may, in fact, be uncommon sense that’s filled with uncertainty.
It may sound risky and force you to step outside – sometimes way outside – your comfort zone.
And it feels a lot like trust and surrender, two words you are unlikely to encounter in business school.
Try a new, holistic approach to business.
But this, my friends, is the new approach to business. A more holistic approach that allows you to incorporate both your masculine and feminine sides. Your yang and yin.☯️
An approach that encourages you to focus on both profit and purpose in your business.
Because we don’t want to start a business or go to work and leave a portion of ourselves out of the equation. We’ve been doing that for too long and if you look around you can see it’s not working.
It’s time for a paradigm shift – a new approach to business. One that blends the best of our masculine and feminine traits. One that allows us to show up, take our place, and share fully with the world all of who we are and what we represent.
Because that’s what the world needs right now. It needs you, in all your magnificence, sharing all your gifts and talents, and helping solve our problems. Are you up to the challenge?
Be Bold. Be Daring. Be AWE-dacious!
- March 6, 2019
- Lis Williams
7 in 10 Americans think companies have the obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be directly relevant or related to their everyday business. They are expected to help solve social problems. That’s according to a 2017 study by Cone Communications.
Can Your Business Make a Social Impact? You Bet!
As a business owner or executive, here’s the awesome news – you’re in an ideal position to make a social impact! How? For starters, the skills and passion you and your team possess which enable you to make your business successful are often the same ones required to solve our most challenging social issues.
The best part is that you don’t have to wait until you’re well established or profitable to incorporate social impact into your business mission. Start now and watch your business grow as a result!
Heart-centered, mission-driven business leaders naturally infuse their companies with purpose. In fact, it’s at the core of everything they do. It flows from the company’s vision and mission and manifests itself in their culture, the way they treat employees, the customer experience, their interactions with suppliers, and the stand they take on societal issues.
Purpose Isn’t a Marketing Ploy – It’s Your Brand’s Essence
Let me be clear – purpose is not a marketing ploy – and it goes beyond just incorporating it into your mission statement. It is infused into your brand’s very essence.
When done right, it becomes a core component of your business model and a key competitive advantage. Purpose allows you to grow your business and positively impact the world – all at the same time. Talk about a win-win!
Ready to Make a Social Impact? Here’s How to Start:
1) Be Intentional and Strategic:
Employees and customers want to know your efforts are authentic and not just window dressing. Take time to plan out why, where and how you want to share your resources, and commit to providing support for the long-term. Being consistently engaged with a cause will increase the likelihood of making a meaningful impact.
2) Choose Your Cause Wisely:
If you’re a solopreneur or have just a couple of employees, the easiest way to choose a cause is to go with what you are passionate about. Even better, you can select a cause based on the interests of your team members. Ask them what they care about and choose an issue that resonates with many of them.
You can also choose an issue you believe would be important to your customer base. Don’t know what that social issue is? Find out – doing so can help you understand your customers on a deeper, more meaningful level. Finally, you can select a cause that aligns with the business you’re in. For example, if you own a technology company, you might support initiatives to get more kids involved in STEM through after-school programs. Really, the possibilities are endless…
3) Identify the Organization:
Once you decide what cause or issue you want to support through your business, you’ll then go through the process of identifying the best organization(s) to align yourself with. Selecting a local organization makes it easier to engage your employees in the effort, but you can always lend support at the national and international level as well through donations.
Your due diligence is critical here because you want to be sure to align your business with a reputable organization doing high quality work. After all, these are the standards you hold yourself and your team to – and they should be the same for your social impact.
4) Promote with Purpose:
This is the step that sometimes holds leaders back – telling their story. They’re afraid that if they share their “why,” people will think it’s self-promotion. But that’s not it at all. In fact, people want to hear it.
Yes indeed, they want to get to know who you are and what matters to you. They want to know you’re authentic, compassionate, and have passions that go beyond the boundaries of your business. They want to do business with a person they can relate to – not a cold, sterile company. And they want to purchase products and services where their money is making a difference.
Your team members want to know this as well. It helps them feel connected and involved with the cause you support and fosters a sense of pride and fulfillment in their work. It also increases your success in attracting, engaging, and retaining talent.
Share Your Story to Broaden Your Impact
Finally, you want to share the story of the cause you support and the organizations addressing it effectively because this multiplies your impact. This is not about you.
This is about the cause that is near and dear to your heart.
A cause that is causing pain to people or the planet and a cause that needs attention. And you have the platform to do something about it.
Think about this for a second: if you never gave a dime or volunteered your time – you can still have a significant impact just by using your voice to spotlight the issue(s) you care about.
So there’s no reason to feel shame when you shine a light on a social issue and the efforts being taken to solve it. Instead, feel a sense of satisfaction and pride in knowing you cared enough to do something about it.
Be Bold. Be Daring. Be AWE-dacious!