Flashback quickly to January 1st, New Year’s Day, 2000.
Pam Featherstone was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a serious illness and wondering what she was going to do next. For years, she had been running a successful business – in the process missing valuable time with her son and working herself quite literally to near death. Something had to change.
Pam had always thought that all she needed to succeed was a strong will and a good work ethic. But the time she spent educating herself during her recovery made her realise she had been doing it all wrong.
Working smarter, not harder
Like many others, Pam’s tragedy was actually the wakeup call she needed. Reading everything on life and business she could get her hands on, she learned just how much time and energy she had wasted over the years just churning through long work days. A better way, she learned, was to develop smart, robust, sustainable systems… and to let those systems do all the work.
Pam realised that businesses are more efficient when work processes are more systematised, reducing human error, inconsistency, and burnout. It’s better to have the systems run the business and then the people run the systems. This philosophy applies to more than just business, though, and dovetails perfectly into her favorite UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), Goal 9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure.
Pam wants to see developing countries obtain the education and knowledge they need to improve their own infrastructure and health through SDG 9.
“Good health and education should be available for everyone throughout the world no matter where you come from and no matter how much money you have,” she says.
The innovation to develop sustainable systems is what these countries need in order to fend for themselves in the long run – something Pam realized when one of her clients developed a technology that could enable crops to grow in areas where they normally don’t.
On the virtue of swearing
Focusing on education and systems is great advice for improving a company’s bottom line, but Pam believes that efficient business also opens the door for efficient giving. She believes B1G1’s “micro-giving” model allows anyone to find a way to make an impact, especially small businesses looking to pay their success forward.
To become a “business that matters”, Pam says a business should have both purpose and vision, but also needs to have a positive culture.
“The culture is what people do when no-one is looking!” she says.
Culture, for Pam, is not just about employees and management, though; she has found unique ways to get her clients involved. One of her favorite B1G1 projects is her program of fining her clients a predetermined amount of money for using… shall we say, ‘salty’ language. The proceeds go toward buying a goat for a family in Kenya for one year – something essential for the families to provide for themselves in a sustainable way.
Now that’s #%@!*^ innovation!
Pam’s Legacy: taking ownership
Pam uses her newfound knowledge and skills to help others enrich their own lives. She wants people to know that if they live proactively – with purpose and vision – they can take ownership of their own fate and live on their own terms. The first step, as Pam teaches, is for them to arm themselves through education and personal development.
“I want to educate people to be the best version of themselves,” she says.
When Pam had her epiphany during her recovery, it gave her something much more valuable than insight into effective business practices – it gave her more time with her son, Zander.
Zander has been honored for two consecutive years for his global contributions through B1G1. Following right in her footsteps, Zander is living his mother’s legacy today.
And, like his Mother, living through developing and using sustainable systems that focus on letting you do great things.