A workshop on Saturday… Looks like my work never stops…
While I would equally have appreciated the lie in, I was highly curious and excited to be finding out about the strategy of our company. What’s going on in my CEO’s head? So I set off to attend this 1-day Business Shaping for Entrepreneurs course which ran in September 2016. You see, I can’t help it, I’m a psychologist after all.
As resident psychologist and researcher at Stratability, I attended the inaugural Business Shaping course with high hopes of transforming a knowledge of the psychological side of the business, where I have been busy working on our assessments and mindset tools, into a well-rounded knowledge of the startup and business world. Being met by the prospect of lunch and the opportunity to learn from the interesting businesses around me, the day had the makings of a phenomenal learning experience.
The point of the course is to help startup companies shape their business and devise their strategy journey. Essentially, helping businesses to understand the ways in which they can target success. THE STRATEGY JOURNEY® framework forms 5 steps. But all in all, the course and the journey are there to help people in their startups to articulate their strategy, and shape their business for success.
Having learnt a great deal, I will share the most important things I learnt and changes I have made to what I do and how I feel about my job since attending the course.
A rather small and relatively obvious point, yet I must stress the importance of my Psychology MSc in this learning experience. I entered into a startup company with an embarrassingly low level of knowledge of the business world, previously smiling and nodding through jargon, and then using Google at home.
To have the opportunity to learn from such a knowledgeable guide, our own CEO Julie Choo, allowed me to increase my knowledge of the business world around me. I learned the key methods of targeting products to a specific customer, as well as the necessity of planning. Furthermore, the interactive nature of the event allowed ideas and past experiences to be shared, like a warm festive present. You’ll see the amazingly colour workbook we got to use from the image tweeted by one of the attendees from the King’s College London Entrepreneur Institute below.
By doing the course, I not only learnt for myself, but I learnt for Stratability. When creating a product, I was naïve to the fundamental why. Now, I feel able to understand how the business is set up. I understand the fluidity of the business, and how experiences may shape and shift the journey. To be given the opportunity to plan the business for myself was key for my development. I understood the difficulty when attributing a timescale to products, as well as the foresight needed to truly plan 2 years into the future. The killer tool for me (we received lots of tools and templates from the workbook) was the customer journey map. I got to structure an experience which I thought would be appropriate to help customers receive value from our products and services, and since the course, I am now testing my theories with real customers. In all honesty, clarity washed over me like rain over Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption (Spoiler alert, but really it’s nearly 30 years old. Watch it!)
The steps towards success
Obviously I will avoid the definitive ‘Steps necessary for success’ motif, to make a more important point. As a new member of a startup, fresh faced and inexperienced in failure, it was necessary for me to observe what success takes.
As part of the course, I planned the journey from idea to success. By doing this I gained a lot respect for the cofounders of Stratability. I was sold on an idea, a feat rather simple when the idea is as captivating as the Stratability mission and vision. But to create the essential blueprint to create that idea as a successful business is a different story.
I was allowed to wear the CEO hat and attempt to plan the journey that the business will take. Not only did this increase my respect but it aligned my thought process to a more forward-thinking strategy.
Instead of completing tasks for the sake of it, I have started to question the why of a task; what impact will the task have on the business? What is my valued contribution? From there, I can start to use my initiative when completing tasks. When I think I know the why behind a task, I can include further work that I feel may be relevant in a few stages of development and take the products I am developing to a whole new level – I’m excited by what they can really do now!
If you’re not captivated by my psychology to business brain transformation, then maybe you’ll be interested to hear the further outcomes that the course has had on my role at Stratability as a whole.
Previously, I did as I was told, and waited for the next piece of work to be assigned. I’m sure a lot of people can related to that. Being a work-zombie is no fun and certainly doesn’t align with my passions. However, with an increased understanding of how the co-founders view the business, instead of the specific task, I can now proactively make steps to orient my work towards the business’ vision.
I also feel more comfortable talking about the small concerns I may have with any activities at Stratability. This does not come from an egotistical need to be right, but a care for the business that developed from the Business Shaping course, the eye opening moment in my personal and professional development. I want to make sure that everything I do contributes to its ultimate success.
So if you’re a CEO, owner, co-owner or an employee who feels they could learn a little bit more about the business they are part of, then this Business Shaping course is for you. Trust me. It worked for me. Julie is also releasing more content from the method in her upcoming book of the same name: THE STRATEGY JOURNEY® (coming soon later in 2017) so watch out for this. I’m waiting for my signed copy!
It’s clear I’ve been transformed by my experience of THE STRATEGY JOURNEY® method, but don’t take my word for it though, here’s what some of the other attendees thought of the course:
— Daniel Aherne (@aherne_danny) September 17, 2016
— Julie Holmes (@thejulieholmes) September 19, 2016
— KCLEntrepreneurship (@InnovateKings) September 17, 2016
We’d love to share our Business Shaping Course with you. If you’d like to run a course at your institution or want to know more then please get in touch.
Download our FREE Customer Journey Map and turn your customers into advocates.
- Know the 6 step value stream to take people from strangers to raving fans
- Be able to provide massive customer value with the right touchpoints and opportunities
- Understand how to measure the success of your customer journey
- Get the 2 simple questions you must answer to create amazing customer experiences
Jake Finn is passionate about all things people, with a deep interest in the how and why behind the way people think, feel and behave. He has a strong background in Psychology, with a MSc in Psychological Research Methods and is currently a lead in the assessment development team at Stratability. In his spare time, you can find Jake cheering somewhere for his beloved Middlesbrough FC, playing or listening to music, or just out with friends socially.