Thank God for the ATO

On the big screen adaptation of life as business we can see the series and episode catalogues and marvel at the storyline so far. The labyrinthine spiritual journey to the centre of self, the Architecture of accountability structure, the mythic struggle for Global advocacy viewed through the latest cause, the large loyal loving loud family, the political party ambitious and hungry for power and influence, the epicentre of thriving commerce, the hip funky rebellious lifestyle choice, the alchemy of financial manifestation, the library of the Guru, the Heroes Journey Call to Adventure and the never ending quest for cultural revolution. For the past almost 20 years, 80 people with “history” have walked through the halls of my company and during their time with us have identified one part of themselves through these narrative dynamics. Seeking to voice a character while reliving plots either from memory or fantasy, every single person has left an imprint.

These storylines listed above, have been both “motivation” and “inspiration” for myself and my business partner to create, forge, build and maintain this enterprise. We each have our own histories and experiences and made a commitment to achieve a certain end result therefore crafting an initial purpose for the business to exist that lay beyond our own personal stories. Obviously we both had agendas that we sought to pursue and as an observer looking back elements of our personal journeys have been manifest through this business. However at the end of the day, the financial reality and legal obligations involved in compliance and accountability – the foundation for every business – served a key external force driving the company towards its Purpose. In many ways the Tax Department is like the Universe, systematic, structured and seeking balance like the laws of Nature. For many enterprises, until they can see their “own” Universal story, the Tax Department provides an external foundation for a Company Purpose.

This can works in the short term, then after a while questions are asked “Why am I working for the Tax Department? Why am I working for my employees? What am I really doing here? What is it that I want to achieve in this business that is deeper than simply abiding by external rules?”

Typically, questions of this nature can terminate a business or simply forge a deeper foundation purpose. Both actions serve. A personal storyline will include variables that seek to create a structure designed specifically to support each quest – motivated AND inspired – modus – action – external AND inspirare – to breath – internal. The investment of everything we value will always return dividends. It is up to us to value and identify the form.

While finalising details with the team on a particular project yesterday, I observed the emergence of a character I haven’t witnessed for a while – that of the poor struggling artist. Three of my employees were complaining about how tough it is for performers, entertainers, artists and musicians and that we responsible for the advocacy of a just and fair system to enable them to express their art and be handsomely rewarded for it financially and I suddenly saw how their jobs served this perspective and where the gap between the benchmarks and their actual performance was directly connected to this belief and agenda.

Light Bulb moment!

Over the years, I’ve encountered this character in the faces of a variety of actors written into several episodes in numerous guest appearances of this series I call the “story of my business”. Focused and centred on their few lines with zeal and passion, their every encounter is charged with a dragon-seeking quest. Motivated to identify an external force responsible for their struggle, they never seem to reach a pinnacle of personal achievement balanced by an internal inspiration. Their greatest value is attributed outside of themselves limiting their ability to convert that incredible focus and zeal to real time self value manifested in financial reward.

As long as sympathy is accorded to the “poor struggling artist” the Music Industry will itself struggle to achieve real time financial wealth. This could very well be said about every Industry – not just Creative Artistic like Art, Dance, Literature but every business every industry every craftsman. What we craft – what we create is a value driven by what we identify with.

Looking at the above storylines, I can clearly see myself on the “never ending quest for cultural revolution” and can easily identify with my three employees seeking justice for the “poor struggling artists of the world.” I’ve taken up arms to fight the good fight on a number of issues.

All I can say is thank god for the ATO for in many ways, they have kept my business on purpose.

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