Managing every which way but loose

Managing up is hard work for no reward because if my customers are not happy they can simply refuse to pay. So how come I’m now responsible not only for managing myself but for managing you too? My personal development lectures taught me that we’re all looking for a saviour (Bion etc.). Clue: it’s not me! I also learned we like to find a common enemy – I’m not playing that role either.

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Research on growth of micro-businesses owned by women

As part of my MBA at Cranfield University, I am undertaking an independent project on the factors that influence women micro-business owners when deciding whether to grow their businesses. In order to conduct this research I am looking to interview:

  • Women business owners (including co-owners, sole traders and directors)
  • Whose business is based in the UK
  • With 0-9 employees
  • Generating less than £1.75 million p.a. in revenue
  • Whose businesses have or have not grown over recent years and/or
  • Who intend/do not intend to grow their businesses in the future.

If you meet these criteria or know women who do and would like to take part in this research, please contact me at gill.searl@cranfield.ac.uk and I will respond as soon as possible.

The complicated inner life of an INFJ – and finally breathing good, clean air

So the MBA is nearly done – only a 6000 word project plus 4000 words on personal development – and a few more lectures in Sep/Oct. to go. I sent off a draft of the first part of the project to my supervisor and am waiting for her response. It’s August so I’m not expecting a quick reply. So with no lectures to go to and no progress on the IP I took the slightly risky decision of going back to personal development. Risky? Why risky? Well, INFJs can get so caught up in their own feelings, strengths and weaknesses that they may never emerge out of the slough of despond arising from the fact that reality is really nasty when compared to the inner perfection of our dreams. We sensitive perfectionists with pinpoint accurate understanding of others’ motivations disappear into making plans to put the world to right whilst apparently managing to forget that other people may have a completely different perspective and not appreciate ours! Research tells me I need to develop my Sensing – drawing conclusions from what my senses take in – but that all seems like hard work when Intuition has already done the job in fractions of a millisecond.

We’re kind of rare, you know – less than 3% of the population, some estimates say less than 1% – and that means that there are loads of people out there – Es, Ss, Ts in particular – who don’t get us. Well, I’m tired of trying to fit in with you all anyway – I’ve been trying to do that for most of my life. If I like you I’ll flex. If I don’t like you I’ll walk away – either physically or certainly emotionally. Why? Because God made me who I am and not like you – and He had good reasons for doing so. He wanted to create something a little different, to do something a little different in this world – because the world needs INFJs too. So if you find me complicated, confusing, irritating – or anything else for that matter, it’s probably time for you to start flexing just a little in my direction. If you put the effort in, you may actually learn something useful about yourself as well as me. And if that effort is a little too much for you, it may just help you to know that I understand that feeling – I’ve been flexing, changing what I do and say, trying to be like you ever since I was old enough to know I didn’t quite fit in. Exhausting isn’t it?

That’s why it was such a joy last week to introduce myself to someone new who got me immediately. She also got my business idea and was so encouraging that I left with a spring in my step and the desire to get started immediately.

On my second scuba dive I didn’t grip the regulator tightly enough which resulted in a combination of air and sea water – CHOKE. I think the MBA has been comparable for me – the struggle to breathe and survive in an adverse environment in less than perfect conditions. I remember the relief of my first breath of good, clean air after an ill-advised rapid ascent (from all of 6 metres). And that’s what Sarah’s encouragement – “just get started”, “email me when you get your first contract”, “you’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t do it”, “you have a business model that will work – and I don’t say that very often” – represented to me: a deep breath of pure air with the energy to get the business off the ground.

No wonder INFJs are frequently represented by dolphins…