…but savor what you have today. I recently checked out the website for a new local company, Julep Nail Parlor, and followed along to the blog by its entrepreneur founder, Jane Park. She had recently written a post about about the tensions between working to put good process in place from the beginning, but also wanting to personalize and enjoy things while they’re small. Someting about that value she was seeking to hold resonated for me.
Interestingly, the phrase of my own that first came to mind was: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. For me that touchphrase is a reminder that one can analyze forever, but to accomplish something you need to get out and do it well enough. On the face, that’s seems the opposite of what she is talking about – she’s out there doing it, and hanging onto some perfect even when she knows she’ll have to relinquish it eventually for good. So why do those two mantras connect for me? After some feeling about it, I think it’s because both are ultimately saying it’s about the journey, not about the end. That concept for me has been a big shift that BGI is helping me internalize rather than merely intellectualize. Who We Are and How We Work Together is more important that what we actually do.
In entrepreneurship we’re now reading Built To Last, and that seems to be what they’re saying as well. They talk about being clock-builders rather than time-tellers: To build a truly great company, your product goal has to be the company itself more than any particular product. The company can then stand on its own, independent of the founders.
Collins and Porras also talk about core values vs practices. In the ParlorGames blog, Jane mentions a friend questioning her commitment to handwritten notes when it’s something she won’t be able to continue. It’s not consistent with “start as you mean to go on”. When talking with Darrin that catches his attention – he particularly dislikes when people justify a decision primarily on consistency. Consistency, perhaps, is a practice, not a value. And so for Julep, “start as you mean to go on” may be a practice they work to follow,but the core value seems to be something deeper.
“Begin as you intend to go on” (what it evolved to in my brain) also reminds me of another cherished guide-phrase: “Every step you take towards justice must have justice in it.”, I can still remember the visiting interim director of the Highlander Center saying it, with a smile. There is an end, but how we get there matters. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And now I have Colins and Porras, saying we should be clock-builders, not time-tellers.