In ancient Rome, roughly 1 in 3 people in Italy were slaves. There was concern in the Roman senate that slaves would cause a rebellion. The Roman senate debated the idea that all slaves wear the same colour toga – so that Roman citizens could know the status of the person to whom they were addressing. After much deliberation, the Roman senate decided against the measure arguing that if slaves could easily identify themselves they would plot against Romans.
Fast forward to today. There are many changes occurring in business. Many entrepreneurs are struggling to implement change, seek out investors, and develop something new. Quite often entrepreneurs will dilute their original idea to fit in – not to sell, not to gain investors, not a better version of their original idea – but to fit in and blend in. Basically to become wall paper, it’s there but no one notices it. I think this does a great disservice to the entrepreneur, the markets and society as a whole.
Instead, I suggest that entrepreneurs wear their togas. Stand out. Be different. Show everyone just how unique your company is. Only then will you be able to find like-minded partners, truly interested parties, and potential sales. If people see your toga as blending in with that of everyone else, then they don't see you. Wear your new toga with pride.
I recently gave a presentation on mentoring and how to create a mentoring program for your company. One of the participants asked how he could convince management about the importance of having a mentoring program. In a nutshell, this was my answer to him:
Begin with the basics. If management needs to be convinced that a mentoring program is needed, then you need to have another kind of conversation first. The conversation you should be having with management is how they view employees. If management sees employees as disposable that mentality needs to be addressed first. If management doesn’t see the purpose of investing in employees’ professional development, then that dialogue needs to happen before any mention of the creation of a mentoring program.
Whether looking to expand employee benefits, creating a mentoring program, fostering innovation, all of the fun and exciting things that workplaces say they want to do, start looking at the things that prevent these conversations. Start addressing conflict, poor communication, workplace bullying, inappropriate tools, uncomfortable furniture and weak leadership. Once there’s a solid foundation in place, then you find yourself with more energy, time and engagement from your coworkers to build a thriving workplace.
Allo there ~ I'm Renée and this is my blog on leadership and business development. Here I explore the nexus between leadership, conflict resolution, networks, innovation and prosperity.