Five Lessons from World Changers – John Coleman – Harvard Business Review

Same inspirations repeatedly told differently: purposes or mission foment knowledge, desire to learn, plan for grow.

The Passion & Purpose MBA survey found that, among graduate business students at least, two of the top three reasons for choosing a workplace were “intellectual challenge” and “opportunity to impact the world,” and nearly 85% of those surveyed thought “business people are well-qualified to solve the most pressing problems in the world.”

But what would it take for us, as individuals, to be world changers? That’s the central question in John Byrne’s new book, World Changers.* In it, Byrne recounts discussions with 25 entrepreneurs who have changed the world — people like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson.

1. Start with purpose: Perhaps the greatest common denominator amongst great world changers is the centrality of purpose in their organizations. Google’s mission is to “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Whole Foods’ motto is “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet.” And Facebook’s mission is “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” This purpose is what serves as a compass for the company and its employees. Finding and articulating your purpose are critical to launching a world-changing enterprise.

2. You’re not too old: Too often, we view entrepreneurship as a young person’s game or something for which you must be uniquely suited. Rather, entrepreneurship is about having an idea and the courage to pursue it — no matter your age.

3. Seek advice: It’s difficult to start and grow a company in isolation, and mentorship and peer counseling are critical to maintaining your focus and direction. Find those who have been through your experience before and seek their guidance on the situation.

4. Be the expert: Many MBAs, in particular, are tempted to launch businesses they know little about because they seem to have big “upside” — but to change the world it pays to be an expert.

5. Start small: World-changing businesses are rarely world-changing from day one. Sometimes they’re not even fully formed concepts.

via Five Lessons from World Changers – John Coleman – Harvard Business Review.

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