Through the IA I've been able to realize that A U T O N O M Y is not only important in school, but also in the work place. Many companies reserve the rights of decision to those standing on the top, ONLY. However, by only giving the power of AUTONOMY to the top, you are murdering INNOVATION in your company. Rules, structures, and control stagnate creativity. When the brain is trained to follow guidelines, it automatically shrinks its creative and imagination side. Employees are no longer capable of thinking of a different approach by themselves, unless an order is given. The more freedom we give to the brain, the more creative it will become, and the further the imagination will travel. If we want INNOVATION, we want CREATIVITY, and especially we want AUTONOMY.
AUTONOMY is the key ingredient for motivation, creativity, and innovation. In the IA, we are inspired to be the DRIVERS of our own learning because we are given autonomy. When we work on projects, there are certain expectations regarding what we have to cover, but overall we are privileged with the F R E E D O M of CHOICE. We have to the power to tune around projects, ideas, and roles if we have a different perception or approach. There are no restrictions to where your creativity can go.
Back in the first semester of IA, we did a FINANCE UNIT. The task was to CHOOSE and present one company that was socially responsible. Apart from those limitations, everything else was up to us. At first I couldn't believe the amount AUTONOMY we were given, before we were used to following a rubric in order to succeed; however, here, our creativity and passion were the tools that would lead us to succeed. It was hard not to follow any rules. I decided to chose a company that was good with its employees. As I was researching, I decided to pick STARBUCKS, because I loved the work they were producing and how good they were with their employees. I must admit, I am not a finance or math person; therefore, if I would've been forced to research a given company I would've hated this project. However, since we were given LIBERTY to explore any company we were passionate about I ended up craving to learn more about finance and thinking this could possibly be a good career. I was motivated to work; I even remember getting back from school and discussing about stocks and finance with my father. Giving me the FREEDOM of choice payed off, and the SBUX stock was chosen to be part of our investment. The autonomy that was given to us triggered my motivation, my interest, and even my passion for finance, which I didn't even knew it existed. I had no threatening boundaries and this helped me succeed.
Giving AUTONOMY can lead to fantastic things, but it's a challenge to manage it wisely. In the IA I have been given some freedom of choice in every project, but IBG is all about autonomy, there is absolutely NO RULES. Yes it's cool, yes it's a privilege, and yes it's unique, but I've had a hard time deciding what I want to do in that time. I feel S C A T T E R E D. I keep rethinking this over my head because I've never been given such autonomy; therefore, my brain hasn't been trained to think so OUT of the LINES. Thus, the challenge for me this weekend is to think deeply of how I can take advantage of that autonomy to follow my passion, to grow, and create beautiful work.
We, the BlendZ team, started out with an ambitious goal: a $15,000 food trailer for our smoothie startup. Since day 1 we've envisioned having a permanent location for BlendZ, but on wheelZ--we've imagined a trailer (in the shape of an airstream) that could be moved around campus. However, over our summer break I gave some more thought to this AMBITIOUS goal--together with Gisella--and we concluded that we were rushing because we wanted to start at the end, by making our ultimate goal come to live right away. We were approaching things too fast; we wanted to eat the hamburger all at once, instead of eating it by pieces.
THINKING BIG, is what sets a company apart; therefore, in this sense we were in the right track; we were thinking O U S T I D E THE B O X. However, every startup that has achieved successes has started from the bottom, by acting SMALL. BIG DREAMS is what pushes employees to perform at their maximum potential, it's these BIG DREAMS that activate their adrenaline to make the business grow and thus attain that FINAL goal. Nonetheless, thinking BIG doesn't mean you have to act BIG as well, you need to start from the bottom and work your way up, and to do so you must set your company small, achievable, goals that will ultimately lead you to that BIG DREAM. We've gotten so fixated with the idea of this trailer that we've forgotten to step back and look at the bigger picture. The trailer would be our first investment to still continue testing our business. Do we really want that $15,000 trailer to be our first purchase?
One day Gisella and I begun to brainstorm ideas and figured that a cart would be the best way to start. It's a small goal, attainable, affordable, and it represents--in a smaller version--what we want from the trailer. Most of us haven't managed a business before, especially not a smoothie business in a trailer; therefore, we have LIMITED EXPERIENCE working on a permanent/mobile location. Even though we envision the trailer one way today, we may envision it totally different tomorrow. As we work on it we might realize there are some flaws in the design or on the way we designed things. However, we won't know this until we test working on it. Yet, we should have to purchase something so expensive to then realize we've FAILED. By purchasing the cart we would not only be able to afford correcting design and operation mistakes in the cart, but we would be able to iterate along and maybe even purchase a second improved cart--with the improvements-- test it, and then make the BIGGER investment. It's very likely that we will be taking out a loan to complete the money we need to make this DREAM a reality; however, if it ends up beign a FAILURE, we've not only lost all the capital we've earned from BlendZ, but also we've fallen into debt. We have few months left in school, and we don't want to pass on a business with debt.
Like they say in finance, you never want to put all your eggs in one basket, you want to DIVERSIFY. Why? Startups revolve around an environment of extreme uncertainty--nothing is settled--and you can't make one RISKY investment because you might lose it all. The customer segment of the smoothies might increase or decrease as we begin to sell every week for two days, and if our customer segment drops, we don't need something so big to DELIVER our value proposition.
This cart can be the start, the start of larger DREAM, the trailer. As we test it out, we can design it in such way that it can serve as a model of the trailer, we could also test out different systems for each employee (smoothie maker cashier, etc.), how we arrange the equipment, and we could even begin by designing the trailer for only two smoothie makers--starting small--to see how efficient we can be. It's a great way to simulate what we will experience in the trailer. Nothing is a RISK here. If we find flaws in the cart, the design, or the system we've design we can pivot and afford to change these flaws as the cart is only S/.5000. As we understand more what it means to work in a permanent location we will gain a better perspective to design the IDEAL trailer that suits the systems we've invented to work, we can approach this CHALLENGE with a more ORIENTED and C R E A T I V E MINDEST. Additionally, for now, the remaining money can be used to support and finally establish the core of BlendZ, what truly gives meaning to our company, Habla BlendZ. By risking all our money we will not only use all the capital we've earned, but we won't be able to afford innovations or support Habla Blendz.
We are not the only ones who are starting SMALL every business at one point was SMALL. For example even Tony's Cafe, they just established their first permanent location in Pentagonito and their current location is something very similar to how our cart will look, expect with no wheels. They've had more experience and time in their business and they are still progressing small. Our challenge is to embark BlendZ in this journey and begin to pivot with the location. We shouldn't discard the idea of the trailer, but we should look at it as an ultimate goal once we've solved every known aspect of the business and established Habla BlendZ. So, let's begin by eating the first piece of the hamburger, by tackling our first goal, to later continue munching piece by piece until we've eaten the entire hamburger--reached our ultimate goal: the trailer.
"YOU WANT TO BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND, BUT YOU WANT TO BEGIN AT THE START"
We currently live in a world that is running on a treadmill. TIME has become our most important asset. People and companies are investing research and money to create infinite technologies and innovations that will help us move EXPEDITIOUSLY—in order to achieve more tasks in less time. The reasoning behind this IMPATIENT MINDSET, we’ve adopted, is that the more we speed up things—things that are slow by nature—the more we’ll accomplish. “It’s like every day is a race against the clock (Honoré)” because we’ve forgotten how to take a pause.
With Mocks around the corner I’ve felt the pressure to stop my relaxation mood I carried around in January and study for long periods during the week. So, my February routine, so far, has gone like this: I wake up early in the morning (at around 7:30am-8:00am) exercise, study Math and Biology until lunch time, then I either go to an appointment or meeting, work on other things related to school, go to my driving lessons, read or study for my driving exam, and sometimes meet up with my family or friends. Yes, my days are FULL and sometimes I don’t even get the chance to COMPLETE everything that I planned for the day. My head goes at 100km/hr. It’s only Thursday, the fifth day of the month, and my brain is EXHAUSTED. Even though I’ve done a great deal, it feels like I haven’t accomplished anything, especially in my studying because I don’t feel I’m retaining the information. We are in mid-summer vacation and all of a sudden I sense that back to school mood where I forget what taking a B R E A K truly means. As I look back to January I’ve realized how despite having AGITATED week days during the weekends, when I'm at the at the beach, the days felt longer and I was able to experience the meaning of a break. WHY? Because I wasn't doing thousands of things and running around all day.
As I HUSTLE through my February days I feel unproductive, although I’m trying to do the opposite. A few days ago I read an article that talked about how the MORE we commit the LESS we accomplish. The author of the article mentioned how
"THE UNFORTUNATE RESULT OF TAKING ON EVERYTHING THAT COMES YOUR WAY IS THAT YOU END UP SPENDING MORE OF YOUR TIME MANAGING THE WORK AND LESS TIME INVESTING IN TRULEY IMMERSING YOURSELF IN WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT AND SATISFYING"
This is exactly what happened to me, I was forgetting to EMBRACE and CLINCH those important summer moments. MORE is not always MORE, and MORE is not always better; the more we try to take on the less productive we are and the more burned out we become. Therefore, today, I forced myself to S T O P, to stop doing, and take that pause. As much as I want to get most of my studying done over vacation, overwhelming my days and waking up earlier to have more time to WORK won’t help me enjoy my summer break and memories as I need to, after a long head breaking semester. Therefore, I’ve decided to quit this CULTURE OF SPEED that I’ve forced myself into, and I will take on less everyday to seize what is important and accomplish more work carefully.
STILLNESS is hard to attain, but once you manage to REACH that state you realize how much you miss out when you R U N. When accelerating through my studying I wasn’t absorbing anything because I was jumping from one point to the next and from one subject to another. The less we do the more ATTENTIVE we are and the more we ABSORB. Therefore, by focusing on fewer things for shorter periods of time my brain will be able to grasp better. Furthermore, when you focus on less you are able to appreciate the moment at a higher level. Doesn’t it happen to you that when you go to a party, to a friends house, or a place you are always looking at the clock because you want to know how much time you have left--you don’t want to leave soon. Well the more you pay attention to time the faster it passes because your head is RACING. When I go to the beach, I completely forget about everything and focus on myself, my days seem longer and it feels that I accomplish more. When I go to the beach I take these long pauses that fill me up with joy and let me seize the moment. So for the rest of the summer, I will stop racing and pace myself to accomplish what I set myself up to no time, but I will also STOP to enjoy those small moments in life.