Where do we go from here. Mission Impossible?

By Catherine Ogilvie

The war in Ukraine has touched us all; whether it’s the constant 24/7 news reports showing the brutality and inhumanity of conflict, the increasing pressure on key resources such as staple food ingredients, oil, gas or the fragility of economic and political stability. Even the difficulty in maintaining essential support for the many other global conflicts in places which once topped the headlines and front of mind like Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Myanmar. What we cannot lose sight of is the need to continue building for the future, creating businesses that will develop and sustain new economies, populations and hope within the chaos. I have been talking to fellow fluid-collective member Tish Van Dyke about the implications which will impact us all.

A driving force for the future is the ever-increasing number of entrepreneurs and founders who are focused on finding solutions to problems across industry sectors, communities, territories, and cultures. Many will fail, but from every failure there are lessons learned and experience gained that can power the next idea, the next new solution.

Last week I had the privilege of hearing from one of the SEA Executive Academy alumni, Anatolii Maslov in one of our regular SEA Circle calls. Anatolii is based in Lviv, Ukraine and has been working to build his company, ElifTech who offer software development and solutions. We asked Anatolii what it takes to keep his business on track during a time of war when his staff have been depleted by many leaving to join the Ukrainian army, the constant threat of air raids and the shock of how fast stability and safety can be torn away at the whim of a distant dictator. He replied that at the core of keeping the team motivated and productive was their shared values and commitment to them. As CEO and founder Anatolii always had a clear idea of what kind of company he wants to build and what values and beliefs are important to success both professionally and personally. At the centre is a shared pride in being Ukrainian and supporting their fellow citizens whether it’s converting empty offices into emergency accommodation, donating profits to the army or continuing to build a solid business which will grow and provide jobs and hopefully a secure future.

In my work with founders one of the first principles we tackle is the fundamental elements of vision and mission and how these elements form the backbone that supports brand, identity and the narrative that are so essential to a successful company. Without this strong foundation it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important not just for the business but the company as a whole. Almost every start-up will experience a crisis at some point, hopefully not the extreme of war but strengthen that backbone of your values, mission and vision and ensure it is firmly embedded in company strategy, embraced by the team around you and it will keep you upright during testing times