When I watched TED’s great lecture by David Kelly entitled “How to Build Your Creative Confidence,” I thought about my climbing. When you climb, you need complete self-confidence and you must have trust in the other climber, who is on the same rope with you. I see a bond between self-confidence and trusting others with survival. When you are in a precarious situation, if you are climbing with a stranger or are in an unknown area, your level of uncertainty can be very high. I always had a healthy appreciation for the dangers of upcoming climbs, and somewhere inside me, I felt the thrill of fear. However, after having accomplished a large number of such climbs, I have transformed that fear into respect, and I believe that change took place due to my acquiring a lot more self-confidence. Now, when I listen to Pink Floyd’s “Learning to Fly,” it reminds me of how I used to feel before and how differently I feel today.

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Confidence in yourself and trust in your companions are  important values in climbing. The same is the case with respect to business ventures. Customers will not buy your product or service if they don’t feel a sense of trust in you. Your sales and marketing personnel can’t sell a product if they do not have self-confidence and/or lack confidence into the product. It is difficult to do business if you don’t fully trust a partner to fulfill agreements. How can we trust a partner if he doesn’t pay invoices for work done properly, as agreed?Somebody who isn’t confident in his product and who lacks self confidence can’t be successful.

When I  worked for a company as Chief Financial Officer, responsible for payments, I had the opportunity in the early nineties to meet with a sales director He reviewed our invoices during the meeting, amended  the contractual payment period on those invoices, and changed the payment dates from 60 days to 90 or even 120 days. That was an outrageous violation of my climbing philosophy. Yet, this shoddy practice has been maintained in Slovenia till today, and has resulted in in a lot of uncertainty for businesses here. The larger companies with their legal staffs are adept at exploiting our too flexible rules and too compliant institutions. Payment schedules in many cases may extend to one year, and some obligations are never fulfilled. This changing environment has given  rise to business uncertainty, and this uncertainty grows worse every day.

But what can be done to reduce such uncertainty and to restore a healthy business climate?

When I was first climbing an exposed wall and the muscles in my arms hurt from the stress, I often thought, “What if I fall?”  I feared losing my strength and my grip while testing my limits with top rope protection. However after having climbed so many walls, now I have stopped thinking about anything except the next grip and how to grasp it. So, by raising my self-confidence, I have started to trust those who have the same level of mastery as I do and those who are more  skillful and experienced than I.

In the business world ,it is much more difficult  to attain such expertise than it is in climbing because many more circumstances can affect one’s confidence in the execution of activities; there are a much greater number of variables. For example, we need to recognize the building blocks of a business model that have the most impact on operations and stakeholders’ activities. These building blocks include  partners, employees, clients, customers, funders, etc.. Trust is not static; it has to be assessed on both an emotional  and a quantitative level. Only when we have made these assessments, can we start to think about solutions.

How can solutions that will reduce uncertainty be developed?

We need to create personal business models, ones which help us to transform our ideas into action on a personal business model canvas. In the testing phase, we must check customer confidence in our ideas and in how much trust exists between ourselves and our partners . By doing so, we can create our own self-confidence. Tests are essential parts of the learning process and help us in the process of “guided mastery,” as David Kelly calls it

Uncertainty can be reduced by checking the confidence level of a company and can easily be checked by creating a business model canvas. Increased business confidence is one of the most important results of business model testing. We can compare the quantitative level of confidence (for example, delay of payments, quality of orders, etc.) with the qualitative level of confidence. Then we can use the results to create more complex business model combining cases, ones in which our business model and those of our partners, owners and other stakeholders are involved.

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