Here are 5 culture / business things I’ve been thinking about, in no particular order:
1. The Permission to Succeed
No one cares more about your product or your company more than you do and you’ll never get permission from anyone to be a success. This approval never actually comes.
Strangely, it appears that many are still waiting, literally waiting for someone to allow them go be amazing. They are looking for approval, for a go-ahead, for a metaphorical “green light” to go after their dreams hard.
Through coaching many people through this process I am no longer surprised that this is the case and I hope you aren’t waiting for permission.
2. Iterate Like Your Life Depended on It
Build. Release. Rinse and Repeat. You don’t know half of what your product needs. Get over it. If you’re embarrassed about your first release then you’re actually doing it right.
This goes for not just a product but also a company and the operational aspects that one is trying to build on the fly.
You hired someone that wasn’t the greatest fit for the role? Whoops. Happens all the time. Fix it. Iterate. Make a better decision next time. You poured resources and time on what is now seen as a failed project or program? Oh well. That won’t be the last time, but that’s okay.
It’s more important that you iterate, independently and corporately, than lock in and never let go. Ship the damn thing.
3. Hire People That You’d Work For
I never really understood this practice until I met some of the guys I work with today. They are both my leaders and my co-pilots. And, as I’ve been scaling a fast-growing startup, I have seen this play out at every level.
If you are hiring then you can just simply ask yourself internally that question:
Is this someone I’d work for?
It can be hard, as a startup leader or founder, to take a step back and even think about working for someone else (and that might be a problem in and of itself) but I think it’s a worthy exercise.
4. Insane About Excellence
Passion, commitment, and a hell-bent focus on being amazing. Most organizations say they want this but look at them from the inside and you see a lackadaisical attitude. Yes, I used that word.
Demanding excellence is always a good thing. Being an asshole in the way that you communicate and lead this drive is not. I think there’s a way to encourage staff towards excellence without threat and without public and private disgrace.
And then, there are always the “whiners” (see this post here on “types” of staffers) who will complain about things not being excellent but who are just saying stuff and not actually doing anything about it.
5. Marketing is Overrated and Yet Underused
There’s a natural tension here and I’ll just let you sit on that for a minute (or two).