Rolls and Royce: a shared vision

Successful creative businesses need a combination of creativity and business strategy – what I call ‘T-Shirts’ and ‘Suits’.

Sometimes, one individual has both of these elements in good measure, but more often than not, the harmony of creativity and business is formed by two people, or a larger team.

Frederick Henry Royce met Charles Stewart Rolls in Manchester in 1904. Royce was the engineer and Rolls the businessman, and their partnership formed the world-famous company Rolls-Royce.

Jennifer Harris, writing in Management Today, points out that different skills can combine in a complementary way but different attitudes cannot. I agree.

There must be a shared vision for the enterprise, even if the partners involved are very different characters with different skills. So the shared vision is in many ways the starting point. If people are working hard together but with different goals in mind, conflict – or at least stalemate – is likely to occur.

Matters of risk, growth, financial reward and lifestyle are all issues about which partners might have different views. If these are not in harmony, each person may have a valid, but different, business strategy in mind as their road map to different destinations.

Success means different things to different people, so simply agreeing together that you want the business to be ‘successful’ is not clear enough. Working towards different definitions of success will inevitably bring problems. That definition of success needs to be clearly defined and agreed.

“Start with the end in mind”, says Steven R Covey in his bestselling book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’.

Having that clear vision of the future, and then starting with that end in mind, is exactly what successful creative entrepreneurs do.