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What Would You Ask The Beatles?

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June 11, 2019

I’ve always been fascinated with the origin of popular songs.  Do you ever wonder how a song came to be? 

If given the opportunity, I would definitely ask the Beatles; “what was the impetus for the hit song, With A Little Help From My Friends?” (Sidebar: for a third person answer to this question, check out this Rolling Stone article on the backstory behind that tune).

I’ve always thought that  the Beatles wanted to celebrate their awesome friendship as bandmates.  Now, as I reflect on VCM’s efforts to ensure people (not institutions) stay at the center of the innovation equation, perhaps the Beatles intended to offer a deeper message:  community building is not a spectator sport. 

Entrepreneurs are often the first to say “I need help!”  9 times out 10, the response is “with what?” or “how?” 

As entrepreneurial individuals, we recognize that solving challenges, whether big or small, require that we ask for help.  We need help to raise capital.  We need help to open the doors of opportunity.  We need help to build our capacity.  We need help to recruit strong teams.  We need help to refine our ideas.  We all need help to remain (somewhat) sane.  And, it doesn’t hurt when that help comes from your friends.

So this week, we’re exploring how best to HELP. A first step in activating a community of friendly support is with breaking down the acronym:

H = Honesty

Start with what is.  Framing current assets and opportunities is less of a static exercise than an attempt to map a moving target. Remember the cult classic, Twister? In order to create an advance warning system, storm chasers needed to map a tornado, arguably the fasted and most unpredictable target known to man.  They needed to collect data at multiple dimensions and vector points, which ultimately required driving straight into the eye of the storm.  Mapping  the status quo is similar.  It requires courage to be honest about the here and now.

E = Evaluate

Data drives the evaluation of what isn’t.  As Peter Drucker admonished, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.  Thus, quantifying room for growth lies in the delta between what is measured currently and what is not.   What’s missing from your metrics?

L = Language

Have you ever heard the phrase, “speak it into existence”?  It really works.  Despite the new age association, you are 120 – 140-% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.  Using vivid language (pictures included!), activates the neurological process of external storage and encoding.  The physical object (i.e., the paper on which you write) creates a visual reminder of where to stay focused.  “Encoding is the biological process by which the things we perceive travel to our brain’s hippocampus where they’re analyzed. From there, decisions are made about what gets stored in our long-term memory and, in turn, what gets discarded. Writing improves that encoding process.”  Clearly, how we memorialize what will be makes a difference.

P = Perception

Finally, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns, “if we hear only a single story, we risk a critical misunderstanding.”  A broad circle of friends, colleagues, and community can offer you access to diverse vantage points– perspective uniquely informed by their life experiences. 


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