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Work Like a Pirate

Work Like a Pirate

I’m not joking. The idea from this post came from watching the ads for the new Pirates of the Carribean movie. It reminded me of a common theme in all the pirate movies that can apply to business.

A Pirate is not His Ship

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Pirates are the ultimate underdogs. They often have a lesser quality ship (or product or service). To compensate, they have to be more creative and clever in dealing with their opponents. They don’t view their ship (or their product) as home base. They view it as a means to beat the opponent, by capturing or sinking their enemy’s ship. How can you go after your enemy? How can you look at your own product or service as a means to an end?

Pirates Move Fast

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Because most of their vessels were stolen or “acquired,” pirates often had smaller, faster vessels, but lacking the big guns of the ships they were often pitted against. Flexibility becomes one of the tenets of living the pirate’s life in business, flexibility married to cunning and adaptability.

Pirates are a Team

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In researching this post, I was surprised to learn that pirate Captains didn’t have the final say on matters the way they do in movies. Turns out that most pirate ships were run democratically. The captain would get a share and a half of the treasure, but otherwise, his word carried no more weight in official votes than his crew. In business, the CEO is seen as the leader, but an organization runs only when everyone participates. The analogy breaks down a little here, as I can’t imagine forcing my CEO to walk the plank, but then again, a Board of Directors unhappy with a CEO’s performance might fit that bill, right?

Pirates Live by Results

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Plundering, pillaging, and other pursuits aside, pirates are all about getting results. They don’t get paid without a lot of up-front hard work. If you are a pirate, you are striving to accomplish a big score. There are perils, risks, and all kinds of ways that the job can fail. It’s a lot like being part of a startup, only pirates have swords, patches, and parrots.

The only negative I found to the whole pirate-as-businessperson analysis is that they’re horrible at organizing information. They file everything under “Rrrrr.” Sorry, I had to say that.

Off the wall, I admit, but sometimes it’s the ideas on the fringe that grab us and move us towards another angle we hadn’t considered before. So, are you a pirate? Or their prey?

–Chris Brogan hides buried treasure for a living. Maps can be found at [chrisbrogan.com]

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

  1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
  2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
  3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
  4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
  5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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