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askSCORE: (The STEM Program) & (The METS Program)

(The STEM Program)
Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and the human side
(The METS Program)
Mission, Empathy, Transformation, Spirituality
By Richard Walton
Assistant District Director for SCORE

It is much easier to recite the alphabet from A to Z than backwards, from Z to A. Similarly, counting in reverse provides challenges, particularly when there is an added calculation involved, such as counting from 100 to 1 by subtracting 7 from the previous number, i.e. 93, 86, etc. It isn't equally easy to know something backward and forward, even in business and management.
For example, the new STEM program that is being implemented in colleges and universities to emphasize the need for increased technical skills, including science, technology, engineering and math. No doubt there is a need for these skills in all areas of our educational system, but my work as a SCORE mentor helping entrepreneurs get started in their new business ventures has made me think that start up success isn't all about technology. There is the human side as well. This made me think that possibly we can enhance the viability of the new business enterprise by really knowing our subject, backward and forward, like the numbers example above.
So I decided to take another a reverse look at STEM and came up with METS, which is STEM in reverse order. This time the initials stand for human aspirations and behavior, and they do make a crucial difference in entrepreneurial effort as I will explain below.
M is for MISSION. This is a powerful factor in promoting success in any venture. A Mission Statement for an individual or a company tells what either will do, and therefore guides everyday action toward accomplishing the mission. The human side of M motivates action toward reaching valued goals, energizes individuals and teams, in fact the whole company. Without human motivation, technology cannot achieve optimum results.
E is for EMPATHY. Empathy is all about the necessity to realize that other people matter, and that positions of power do not convey upon the leader automatic knowledge and authority to do anything he or she wants to do. Empathy for other organizations and their members, whether they be competitors, suppliers, customers, or colleagues means that human interaction must be two way and must result in benefits to each. There is no such thing as win lose, when an empathetic approach is taken.
T is for TRANSFORMATION. In a business sense, all activity involves some form of transformation, primarily inputs becoming outputs. For example, in a typical business organization, applied technology becomes transformed into products and/or services. But in a human sense, transformation involves a change in the individual who becomes different in outlook and behavior as a result of transformational experience. People can think of something greater than themselves as a new source of motivation and action. And again, we can have a great human force for good. A good example of the use of transformation in organizations is how losers can become winners through human effort energized by transformational leadership. We can do it!
S is for SPIRITUALITY. I do not mean this in a strictly religious sense, but rather in a holistic sense where goals and motivation are conditioned through the need to do good in the world, not only for one's self, but for the others. Whenever I think of spirituality, I am reminded of the many instances we have probably all seen where someone has helped another person in need, not for personal gain, but because it was the right thing to do. In business we need to think not only about dong things right, but also about doing the right things.
Really knowing something does involve knowing it backwards and forwards. And sometimes a backward glance can give us new insight and human power that just might change the world. Knowledge is converted into action through a composite view from beginning to end and also from end to beginning, combining science and humanity. Entrepreneurs can harness this incredible power through blending technology with human energy and motivation in pursuit of making the world a better place.

Mr. Walton teaches Financial Management, Operations Management, Corporation Finance, and Entrepreneurial Finance at Frostburg State University. He is also Assistant District Director for SCORE, Western Maryland, and the President of ERMACORP, a Hagerstown based Management Consulting Firm. He may be reached at 301-462-9850, or by email to

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