Effort vs Knowledge

Thank you Jacci for this great story. Its not new, but the message is powerful:

Ever heard the story of the giant ship engine that failed? The ship’s owner tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who has been fixing ships since he was a youngster. He carried a large bag of tools with him. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do.

After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer.

He gently tapped something.

Instantly, the engine lurched into life. The engine was fixed! A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars.

So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an itemized bill.”

The man sent a bill that read:


Tapping with a hammer – $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap – $9,998.00

Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all the difference

Enterprising Women

Yesterday I had the privilege of talking at the Enterprising Women 2nd anniversary lunch. It was amazing to have the chance to talk to almost 180 women entrepreneurs. An inspiring experience.

There was consensus that one of the most motivating elements of hearing other people’s stories is the realisation that, even though you’re going it alone, others are having the same experiences. There’s a normalising effect in that.

Energy banks

Energy is a company asset. I don’t mean utilities – clearly, electricity and gas are essential to operations. But what I am talking about is people. The energy that is applied to thought, to problem solving, to customer relations. It is critical to any business, but I wonder how many count it as an asset?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on the concept of entrepreneurship with Graham Singleton of Make Yourself. We’ve been discussing a model for a presentation. As we explored what could be done to enhance entrepreneurship within companies, we rediscovered the links with energy. It’s been a great experience working with Graham. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Energy is the life blood of an organisation: the fuel that drives both the pace and the quality of growth. As is so often the case, the challenge lies in the intangibles. It’s invisible and impossible to quantify, but some people have it in spades while others don’t have quite the same amount of ‘go’. Those that have it can infect others with enthusiasm, but they can also overwhelm. And although it’s not finite, it does need to be nurtured and sometimes conserved.

Its value is hard to measure – it never appears on the company’s balance sheet. But without it nothing happens. Although we can’t always control it, we should perhaps take care to nurture it. Think of it as deposits and withdrawals from a bank. If we keep drawing on it without top ups, we’ll start running low. But shared with others effectively, it multiplies rather like compound interest.

Investing in your energy bank could well pay great dividends.

See what I found …

I was in the lobby of The Perse School in Cambridge and saw this poem. This school has a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence. There are situations where focus on academics alone can sometimes imply a lack of balance. How good it was to see something that clearly focuses on the all-important softer skills of human interaction.

Although the text is particularly applicable to young people, it struck me that, simple as the message is – its relevant to all of us.

See what I found

Some new corners of myself

Hiding away, tucked out of sight,

Untapped, untried, I found them

While reaching out to others.

I wonder how much more of me

There is to discover