Monday, July 11, 2005

When the horse is dead, dismount

I was looking for some notes and accidentally found (thanks, Google Desktop Search) buried treasure.

It's some inspiring comments from John Kelly, the Newfoundland-born entrepreneur who founded (or co-founded) SHL Systemhouse, JetForm, Nabu Network Corp., etc., and remains an active business leader and mentor in Ottawa.

It was towards the end of a PROFIT 100 awards luncheon in Ottawa, where John sat on a panel of high-growth entrepreneurs. When we asked for the panellists’ best advice for all the entrepreneurs in the audience, here’s what he said.

“I find value in the old Newfoundland expression, ‘Sometimes I sits and I thinks; sometimes I just sits.’”

What that means, Kelly explained, “is that when you are just sitting, you’re dreaming. And what I have learned is that in dreaming, there are no limitations, and that it’s dreams that create new ideas. As Carl Sandburg says, ‘Nothing happens unless first we dream.’

“I think entrepreneurship is all about dreaming and visioning, and then, really, the ability to convert that vision into strategy and a plan. Leadership would be the ability to motivate others to believe in that vision, and work together to fulfil that plan.”

And then he added: “There’s a shorter version of what I learned, too: that when the horse is dead, dismount.”

After all, not every vision turns to gold.

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