“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu, Art of War.
It sounds a bit cheesy, but I really felt like being struck by lightning when I first read Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”. I was a humble undergraduate student back then, randomly stumbling onto this book in my free time. As I went through the text in ancient Chinese, I sensed the greatness of this book instantly. Somehow, reading its concise and abstract text was an enlightening experience that was similar to listening to church music. Since then, this book has remained the top of my reading list and I even went to the extent of memorising the full text (it’s not that difficult, even with my limited memory space).
I would like to recommend Sun Tzu’s quote above to all the entrepreneurs. To survive and thrive consistently along the entrepreneurial journey, entrepreneurs MUST have a deep understanding of themselves in their specific business environment.
In modern business language, you should regularly conduct strength weakness opportunity threat (SWOT) analysis for making both strategic and tactical decisions.
This is why we have always started the SLP classes with the e-journeys of our fellows. Each fellow has three minutes to introduce the social aspects of himself/herself: how he/she grows up, his/her friends and family, what he/she likes and dislikes, how he/she started his/her entrepreneurial journey etc. The e-journey presentation not only allows other SLP learners to understand the fellow, but more importantly enables the fellow to take some time to review himself/herself. This understanding of oneself is beneficial in both entrepreneurial and social lives.
The e-journey class is a close-door discussion to allow the fellows to be candid, which helps the bonding of the cohort and the shaping of the subsequent peer-based learning modules. Since peer-based learning is all about tailoring the learning content to the needs of learners, class CEOs have to understand their fellows from e-journey presentations and other channels such as pre-class survey. As the class CEO, I would like to thank all the fellows for their active participation, especially those who could not attend in person and had to prepare additional videos/voice recordings to explain their slides.
The diversity of our group made the e-journey presentations so fun to watch. This year, we have a fellow who survived the attack of hippo by out-running it, a fellow who has a yellow Mustang car, a fellow who was a finalist in an international beauty contest and a fellow who has a passion for height etc. Diversity is beneficial to peer-based learning, as the different mindsets, skill sets and experience of our fellows promote complementary collaborations.
As a note for the current fellows: diversity alone does not make peer-based learning successful. We need to make a conscious effort to maintain the honest and transparent atmosphere of SLP London to create a successful learning group.
As a note for the future class CEOs: the CEO of this class is mainly to facilitate candid discussions while making an effort in time keeping (the Christmas bell is really effective). Before the class, share the e-journey template and instructions with all the fellows, make sure all the presentations are ready and coordinate with the venue operator about logistics (mainly computer/screen connection and catering). After the class, upload all the class materials to the Dropbox folder and spend some time on the class write-up.
Wen. London. 11th October 2019