I grabbed my newly minted Irish passport and took a business trip to Dublin last week. On boarding my flight I got into a natter with a women who had recently decided to step back from the business she founded 10 years earlier. It may be a brand you know, so I won’t say who it is but she has enjoyed huge, high profile success. She and her business have won many awards, created a new market segment and have contributed hugely to the Irish economy.

However, there was a sting in the tail. Just as she is ready to launch the next phase of her brand’s evolution. Her significant investor of three years has decided he wants a different direction. So conflict and unresolvable conflict. It stopped her in her tracks.

So before you think this is a blog on the perils of outside investment, choosing business partners wisely or the ups and downs of PE firms, it isn’t.

Attitude controls altitude

This is about her attitude when she said to me;

I am now looking at my next venture, what would you do?

Wow! So I spent the next 15 minutes grilling her on why she shouldn’t walk away, that there is always a way back, could she buy her investor back out. I said, but it’s your name on the door, on the products, how can you do this? I got very energised putting myself in her shoes. However, she was pragmatic. As Ariana Grande says, NEXT !
I told her I don’t know if I could do that. I was bound up in the here and now, she wasn’t.

I wonder whether this is an Irish attitude to life? To an indomitable spirit ?

My two days in Dublin showed me the city and country is doing very well. I lost count of the number of cranes and buildings shooting up. “Crane watch” as my colleague Chris Hefner calls it, his measure of how cities are performing.

There is that old joke circa 2011 which goes..: an English businessman gets into a taxi in Cork and the driver asks about how the Financial crash is affecting London. The businessman says it’s been brutal, colleagues have lost their jobs, people have lost their homes, his own bank is on its knees. He adds that these things tend to last 5 years before an upturn and the driver says, oh good, only another 3 years to go then. It’s a rubbish joke but as time goes on, the driver looks better and more forward-thinking. It really shows the Irish spirit, looking ahead not mired in the past or even the present. You can’t change either.

I think Ireland has done a great job in welcoming people to its shores – tourists, businesses and people like me applying for dual citizenship and a passport. As a chap said to me over a coffee “The more, the merrier”

The title of this piece is Does (your) attitude control your altitude. I think your business success is a direct correlation to your own outlook. I want Formation to be really easy to work with, straight with people AND challenge/change the status quo.

This starts with our own attitude.

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