If you look around your world you’ll see a lot of attention given to systems of enforcement. We see it in education with the industrial-like herding of students through one textbook and then another, and with tests and rules and compliance all along the way. We see it in the workplace with industrial-like herding of workers through hierarchies of management that promote authority and status over productivity and results. We learn enforcement at any early age and we’re subjected to enforcement throughout our lives.
Enrollment is different to enforcement. While enforcement is a function of authority, enrollment is a function of choice. Enrollment happens when individuals choose to engage in certain activities or undertake certain behaviors. Enrollment is an expressed desire to participate – not because we have to do so but because we want to do so.
Enforcement runs deep. It’s instinctive because it’s always been a big part of our lives. It feels appropriate because it gives us control. Whereas enrollment takes control away from us and gives it to others.
What does any of this have to do with what Bluestone does?
Bluestone’s entrepreneur customers are enrolled in a journey – a business journey of some form or other. It might be a journey to serve more customers; it might be a journey to build something bigger than themselves; it might be a journey to develop teams that can achieve great things; it might be a journey to become a great leader…it might be all of these things! Every one of our customers has said “this is something I need to do!” They are enrolled. And then they recruit others to enroll in the same journey…and the business grows but not in a straight line because problems arise and things don’t go as planned. But challenges are overcome and new paths are forged because everyone is enrolled in the journey together.
And then Bluestone shows up. And we say to the entrepreneur “we see you; we see where you are trying to go; maybe we can help you get there.”
“That when we think about scientists who have done great work; when we think about organizations that have had breakthroughs or designers, or coaches, or teachers - it's always because they figured out how to earn enrollment, because they realized that people who are doing something because they want to, do way more than people who are doing something because they have to…
…are we spending our cycles, are we spending today, are we spending these resources looking for new ways to create enforcement regimes and new ways to clarify the rules and the punishments? Or are we brainstorming and looking for new ways to earn enrollment? To basically be able to say to people, oh, it looks like you're trying to go there. It looks like you're trying to do that. Well, if you want to go there, have you considered that this might be a good way to get there?”1
We call our work “Personal CFO” but our most important work has nothing to do with finance. Instead, the work is about engaging with entrepreneurs who are enrolled in a journey and helping them get where they want to go.
Enrollment is energy; it is dynamic; it is passion. If you are enrolled in a business journey, if you are seeking to do great work, to find new breakthroughs, to solve problems…we just might be the right people to help you get there.