My “passionate weirdness” and hybrid CV, which hitherto had been sources of ire and consternation for nuns and search firms alike, are currently rather de rigueur. Before we cycle out of this Moment That Suits Me, I thought I’d seize the day and share some of my experiences - the good and the downright sub-optimal. If I’m certain about anything in my career, it’s this – I think differently to other people. And I’m possibly more bold. Consistently and happily. I’ve always come at things from a different perspective and am prepared to challenge received paradigms and the status quo. Not for the sake of it, but because that is how I’m wired, and because I want to create something uniquely better. I call it constructive anarchy.
Andrew Deresiewicz, who coined the phrase “passionate weirdness”, speaks of how even the most brilliant of us can become “the most excellent of sheep” when elite universities churn out conforming, tunnel-visioned careerists. And while excellence in any form is truly commendable, I think I’ve spent my entire working and personal life ensuring that I ain’t no sheep. And I’m probably passionately weird. Homogeneity is the death knell of any business. I’m interested in getting to the nuances and heart and soul of a company, and bringing that to life for the benefit of not just the customer, but all of the stakeholders, because contemporary consumers demand it and it will create the most robust and sustainable future for our businesses.
Mine is not a blog, but Blog-ish. I’m a non-conformist who is guided by goodwill, good humour and a quest for exceeding expectations, and this is how I intend to stand out and contribute to a crowded world of business advisors and bloggers. I intend to share my successes and my failures. As we all consider the amplified ambiguity of the future, I’d like to share some anecdotes. By story telling and combining my commerciality and creativity, and international experiences as an entrepreneur, an advisor, a senior executive, a founder of a large and a small business, and a non-executive Board Director of private and listed companies, I’d like to bring businesses and business case studies to life.
Like a dating site, let’s get our compatibility and my bona fides sorted tout de suite:
Is that a recent photo / true depiction of what I look like today? Absolutely not.
Credentialed? Did someone say international experience as an executive, entrepreneur and Board Director, a co-founder of Net-a-Porter, an international speaker and a senior advisor to start-ups and listed companies? I’ve been around - in the nicest possible way.
Contemporary experience? Yes M’am / Yes Sir-ee (Please see previous answer)
Broad experience? Absolutely, across industries and disciplines. What used to be regarded as a very problematic “hybrid CV”, is now all of a sudden, quite cool. As luck would have it.
Enough water under the bridge to have been both in clover and the trenches? Champagne corks, battle scars, worry lines and smile lines to prove it.
Strengths: An energetic (mostly in thought), disruptive thinker who is happy to constructively challenge the status quo. A passionate advocate for the customer and staff, with a firm conviction that focussing on good outcomes for all stakeholders creates robust, sustainable success.
Weaknesses: Blurting out the most brilliant ideas over the first coffee with a potential client. (I’m onto it...so now I just listen, and bite my tongue to the point of bleeding, so don’t even think about trying.)
Likes: Challenges and having fun. Good business is fun. That joy creates a contagion of goodwill, which benefits your customers/clients and your staff.
Dislikes: Hubris (in people or businesses … be very clear, I loathe it). And camping (as deep a distaste as hubris).
Greatest achievement: A tennis tournament when I was ten or so. I won a trophy and a beautiful white Wilson racket with blue stripes. It was the first thing I’d ever worked hard for and earned myself. It was a brilliant feeling.
Success vs Failure? I’m down with both. As long as you’re having a crack. Rudyard Kipling’s line “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same”, works for me. Keep humble, keep trying. I reckon I’ve learned more from my failures than I have from my successes.
Scared of challenges? Frankly a little in love with them (which is just as well).
Happy with Good Enough? Not on your Nelly and if you are, head straight to another blog.
So … in the absence of being able to swipe right, please register your email for more business loving with my weekly Blog-ish.