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BoostMe Local Growthcamp – Learnings

24 oktober 2018

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change

These are not my own words, these are the wise words of Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston who spends her life studying about empathy, shame, courage and vulnerability. What do you associate with the word vulnerability? Maybe, it is weakness, fear, hurt, … For me vulnerability is the strength to be your authentic self, instead of hiding behind a façade to please others. What happens when people have the strength to be vulnerable? They grow and become better versions of themselves!

Last weekend I had the privilege to go to Hubermont with 12 amazing entrepreneurs in the context of the Boost Me Program of Netwerk Ondernemen. During a 3-day local growth camp they worked hard to get the basic building blocks ready for their strategy execution plan. They all wanted to get one step closer to their goal of international scaling. A hell of a job to accomplish in 3 days, right? But they all succeeded in their own way because they had the courage to be vulnerable. This requires a safe environment and the encouragement of peers.

We started our Local Growth Camp with finding our ikigai. Iki what? Ikigai is a Japanese concept that has its origins in the island of Okinawa that has the largest population of centenarians in the world. It refers to a strong reason of being or reason you jump out of bed every morning. Ikigai is the convergence of four primary elements:
· What you love (your passion)
· What the world needs (your mission)
· What you are good at (your vocation)
· What you can get paid for (your profession)

Ikigai BoostMe

Why is it important to (re)discover your ikigai? Because it leads to a more fulfilling and balanced life. Entrepreneurs work hard, very hard. When you spent most of your days working, it is important to do the things that are right for you. These are the things that make your heart sing, the tasks that get you into flow and give you plenty of energy. Doing the wrong things can lead to burn-out, something entrepreneurs are sensitive to and have to be aware of.

Boost Me is a growth acceleration program and as companies grow, the role of the founder(s) often shifts from entrepreneur to manager. That is a shift that not every founder fancies (understatement!). Building strong and efficient teams and team dynamics are key in the growth pad of every company. It is a tough exercise in leadership. What kind of leader am I? What kind of people do I want to work with? What defines our company culture? And which role do I take, taking into account my own strengths and weaknesses. We tackled these questions using the Lencioni framework and groups exercises and discussions.

The strategy execution plan of Jeroen De Flander was another very important part of the program. Jeroen is one of the world’s most influential thinkers on strategy execution. The strategy execution plan is all about getting things done and creating and executing great strategy. We learned from Jeroen that strategy is choice and choice implies making a list of noes, things you won’t do anymore because they distract you from your finish line. Do you find it hard to find out where your finish line lies? Then answer this simple question: If I could have it all my way, then … Start imagining, it is fun! To reach your goals, it is better to focus on your must win projects that will get you to your finish line much faster. But be aware of your bad guys and habits that undermine the execution of your plan. At the end of the weekend 12 strategy execution heroes presented their growth plan. A hero is a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities. These 12 unique personalities are all heroes in some way or another.


Last but not least we did a lot of Challenge Me Sessions. During such sessions every entrepreneur has the opportunity to present his or her biggest challenge to the group to get advice from fellow entrepreneurs. It was amazing to see a group of people opening up in such a short time. Everybody gave advice and feedback in such an honest and respectful way. We saw people grow fast together and individually.

After this experience, I think the formula for growth is as follows
vulnerability = strength
strength = choice
choice = strategy
strategy = focus
focus = finish line


An Hulsmans

Creator of opportunities & Chief networking officer

T +32 (0) 475 74 71 71


With special thanks to:
Sabine Eevers – Netwerk Ondernemen
Annelies Wybo – Kessels & Smit
Lieve Scheepers – Kessels & Smit
Jeroen De Flander – Strategy Execution Thought Leader
Erwin Blomsma – Virovet

And the BoostMe participants:
Jonathan De Graeve – SmartEye
Bart Van Proeyen – Kwarts
Filip Smet – Lemon Companies
Gunther Ghysels – Get Driven
Vincent De Smedt – Edmire
Bart Baeyens – Hashting
Karl De Beul – Hashting
Nancy Steenbakkers –Ultrazonic
Ingrid Willems – We Connect Data
Bart Ulens – Uulki
Federico Bisschop – Cohousing Projects
Michel Smekens – I-beauty

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