Leadership and Business Models

How are the ideas that I have learned connected to what I already knew?

In terms of leadership, I think I was already on my way with regard to understanding the power and necessity of story as a model or framework. 

To be honest just about everything I have been exposed to over the past few months has been relatively new in terms of understanding business models.

I probably know a lot more than I think I know but it’s hard to make connections and I think I have blanked out a lot of this part of the course, which is evident by the paucity of words in this particular summary! 

How did my learning then extend my thinking? 

I didn’t know very much about what people are doing to create business models for social good/purpose, apart from a very basic understanding of organisations like Kaibosh (my husband has been a volunteer there for a number of years).

All the speakers who shared with us their models have put me on a huge learning curve and have inspired me to learn more about this side of things.

I am a little bit embarrassed at how little attention I have paid to some of the structural aspects that sit behind businesses. I think I have an old school version of business, or perhaps my closet marxism has allowed me to position all that side of things as inevitably “bad” or harmful. My goodness, writing it down like this is pretty embarrassing. I actually toyed with the idea of going back and re-reading every bit of course content on this particular topic so that I could write something that would demonstrate a more substantial understanding of this aspect of the course.  But if I am being authentic, that’s pretty much the state of it- have felt a bit over my head at times and a bit wowed by my peers in the group who seem to have a much better handle on stuff that, rightly or wrongly, I just haven’t taken time to develop an awareness of.

I understand current funding models in education but only at superficial levels because I get really intimidated by the financial side of things. I think I have always assumed that that “business” is this other world that certain people live in- people with business and accounting degrees, for example.

What do I still find challenging or puzzling?

In my current context, I work so deeply ‘in the business’ that I don’t often step back and think about the actual model of business we are using. Except that my instincts tell me that we are not as purpose-driven as we think we are! 

As I have discussed in my posts on purpose over profit, it’s been a bit of a leap to learn that it is possible to run a profit-based business that achieves social good. And of course, I am all in on this, want to know more about how people actually set these up.

For example, as a frustrated apartment-dwelling gardener, I have been nursing an idea for developing a volunteer gardening collective to support and connect people who need gardening support (i.e. renters who have to maintain the property but don’t know how and can’t afford to pay others, or elderly who just can’t get down on the ground and pull they weeks anymore) with people who perhaps who do not have gardens or those who love gardening and want to share their love of tending the earth and at the same time beautiful people’s home environments.

It would be challenging to allow myself to claim this is bona fide ‘for good’ endeavour, compared to deeper issues of poverty and deprivation we see in NZ (and the world).  It would be a challenge to allow myself to consider setting up a business myself. An outcome of dropping out of school at 14 was that I have underdeveloped mathematical skills and worry that I’d just not be able to handle the details of funding models etc. I am functionally numerate but that is about it! So positioning myself as a business owner would be a major contradiction.