John Foster has two sides to his work. Since his teens he has immersed himself in technology and built a successful career as a consultant, helping corporates to design and deliver complex IT projects.
He also he has a quarter of a century’s worth of entrepreneurial activity, co-founding several tech companies, as well as Technology Chiefs, which showcases ideas from the sector’s most influential leaders.
Given his skills, John could take on any number of roles, from coaching and consulting to creating a new enterprise.
Ironically, this choice was part of the problem:
“I’ve often felt this conflict between all the different things I do, which in themselves could be a huge endeavour in their own right. Whether that’s being a CTO, technology leader or IT head in a large organisation, or whether it’s just broader business growth and experience, even beyond the tech sector.”
See what rewards you: retrace your story
My job was to give John clarity on the common themes underpinning the two strands of his career. From there, shape a narrative that positions him in a coherent and consistent way, drawing in the people he wants to work with most.
During the course of two Zoom calls, we explored John’s story, values and sense of purpose. When I wrote them up, it gave John the chance to see his work in a new light. (Reading about yourself in this way will always bring you a fresh perspective.)
‘People’ emerged as a common denominator between the different parts of John’s career. These individuals embody his definition of ‘entrepreneurial spirit’. They are a vital part of an impressive ‘Entrepreneurial IT’ network that John has – unconsciously – grown since he was at college.
Tell people what you believe. They’ll buy into you.
This is how John wrote up his career before I collaborated with him:
As a result of our conversations, John can now tell his target audiences what he stands for, and why he wants to make a difference – in addition to what he does:
“Throughout my career, I have gravitated towards people with entrepreneurial spirit. People who feel there must be a better way to do things. Whether they work for a corporate or run their own business, they want to do their best for their colleagues, clients and community.
“That is why I was drawn to the technology sector. Tech gives us the means to make every area of our lives better, from health and transport to business and industry. For me, the best things happen when you combine technology’s potential with entrepreneurial spirit. In the last twenty-five years, I have co-founded several IT companies, including Platform Smart, Asset Fusion and C&C Technology (now Affini Technology). All of them have worked with global names, such as Heathrow Airport and HSBC. I’ve seen first-hand how you can make massive progress when small smart teams bring their agile expertise to bigger organisations. That is what I mean by ‘Entrepreneurial IT’: getting the best out of technology, to do the right thing, for the long term.
“Everything I have achieved has been with the support of other entrepreneurial spirits. Encouraging that spirit now lies at the heart of all my consulting, coaching and collaborations.”
Get strategic focus, and save time and effort
Now that John is clear on what drives him, he can ‘build out a top-level position as an independent entrepreneur and technology leader’ more efficiently:
“There was a period when I was wondering, ‘Do I go off and do some coaching? Do I go off and do some business? How about I be a non-exec for a bunch of different people?’
“I think that having found that clarity, all that noise has gone away. It allows me to focus. I’m now saying, ‘Right, the things I’m doing now are absolutely the right things to be doing. They all fit together, and they fit into my plan. I can see that now. More importantly, I can see why’.
“It has allowed me to get that focus.”
Make more impact, faster. Be clear on your next move
Do you, like John, want to attract more projects that give you the greatest reward? Are you clear on how to position yourself, so you don’t waste time and money on the wrong work?
Email me now at [email protected] if you want a sounding board. Let’s put a date in the diary and see how I can help.
“It was an interesting experience because I was unclear on how it would go and what would come out of it. I just thought I’d go with it and see what happens. I really enjoyed the journey and what has come out of it has been fantastic.
“I’m really, really grateful for Miranda and her expertise.”
John Foster. Fostering Entrepreneurial IT.