Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.


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Running a business: Why hide your strength?

I spot it in people’s eyes at their first meeting with me as their business coach and mentor. The look says: Give me that quite fix, right now, so all my problems will just vanish.

I came to think about this, when I was reading about repentance. Tomorrow, Jews all over the world celebrate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. For 25 hours, you fast, pray, and maybe sleep a lot.

In Hebrew, the correct term is ‘teshuva’, which can be translated as return. It is a mechanism to return to a manner of moral purity, where T = 0 (if you want). And as Rabbi Ari Kahn points out, citing a religious text, this is performed by using our inner power to rediscover the meaning of the Torah, the Jewish law.

In a talk that I am preparing for a conference in Israel, I will be discussing how I can spot something incredibly obvious in a client’s organisation, although they are blind to the issue. I may not understand their processes or technology, but I can see a fault glaring out at everyone. Why me? Because that is my skill set. However, the question is why can they not see what is happening?

The answer lies in applying (or not) that inner strength’ which I referred to previously. In our daily lives, we are so busy running around the immediate that we do not allow ourselves time to take on those tough subjects, which are often critical. We do not challenge ourselves to manage in depth what needs to done, especially when an “über-type” fix is not apparently available to us. Here are two examples:

I was recently asked to analyse some financial reports for a young company. A couple of hours later, I had a very good understanding of a problem that the client had been grudgingly prepared to admit existed, but had done precious to rectify for a long time. They had put off the matter, until it really began to stop them from making core decisions.

From a different perspective, I met up this morning with a fellow and younger runner. He is concerned about how the sport negatively impacts on his body, but had not done very much about it. I explained what steps I had taken about similar health issues. He really wanted a fix, but again had not looked too far.

I explained how I have been training and how I have bought specific equipment. The result is that I have run just what he wants to run, for all the difference in years.

Finding an “inner strength” to take on difficult, maybe scary, tasks is not easy. Some set aside time and concentrate. For me, it is often a process that takes place over time. However, all of us have that ability to change ourselves and to change our lives, and thus to change our businesses.

About a year ago, I saw a posting on Facebook about a father who ran a long race, while pushing his 10 year old handicapped son in a pram. Just before the finish line, the child forced his parent to stop. The young kid struggled out of his pram and walked or hobbled or stumbled the last 50 meters by himself. Heart breaking, but somehow he dug the will out of himself to do so,

And so can we.

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