“Order, order!” might work for a judge in a courtroom. But, in a startup workspace, it’s the opposite scenario that will see your business thrive.
We studied founders over two decades and found that a less structured approach than Judge Judy might approve of is critical for entrepreneurial success. Here’s why.
Structure refers to your level of energy and priority on planning the resources and parts of a project or task. Does that mean that accountants, developers and engineers don’t stand a chance of succeeding in starting a business?
While founders are often criticized by corporate leaders (and sometimes boards) for their low focus on details, procedures and planning, it's this very low priority that correlates with venture success. In fact, a too high or too low focus on structure is found within those who experienced business failure.
In an early startup, too high a focus on structure might find you in danger of stalling. At this stage, it’s important to pare back the focus on planning - just not right to back to zero. Founders do need a small degree of structure, but can become unstuck if all planning, no action becomes the cultural norm.
Structure becomes much, much more important as a business scales. Being able to effectively manage resources and teams and plan efficiently is critical when leading a large organization.
But, what if you use an Asana checklist for household chores, create a Gantt chart to project manage a mate’s surprise birthday party or use Jira to run the family’s schedule?
Here are three simple tricks that might just help dial down your urge to organize the bejesus out of your business:
Remember the good old skill requested by many job ads: “Ability to think on your feet”?
Well, as an entrepreneur, this skill is gold! Remember, successful entrepreneurs are able to adapt and change, and often thrive in uncertainty - there’s not much room for structure in this end of town! Try to let this become an acceptable state of mind. Think like an entrepreneur - plan less and use the moment to organize solutions as the needs arise.
In a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine, Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder says, “To successfully grow a business, you must ‘expect chaos’.” In an early-stage startup, it’s almost impossible to avoid. Normalize this by questioning everything, from processes to products to people.
Give your founding team your blessing to wear multiple hats, work across the business, patch problems as they arise and foster a culture of problem-solving on the fly. Be fluid in your approach.
Chances are your founding team will appreciate the potential this offers. As F4S CTO Joe Tyson says:
“Stop with the fake work, start with the real work.”
Why not learn first-hand from those who do it so well? Look for a mentor, a co-founder or set of team members that strike the right balance of planning with a whole mother load of rolling up their sleeves and figuring it out on the fly.
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Found correlated with venture success, big picture thinking is critical in scaling high growth ventures. Increase your comfort and use of big picture thinking to avoid sweating the small stuff and keep you at higher altitudes. Big picture thinking is key in prioritization, goal setting, communication, decision making and situations where you need to get the gist of things quickly.
Inspire yourself and others to see and achieve grand visions and goals. A focus on goals is especially helpful for scaling yourself and your business, impactful communication, maintaining focus over time and for aligning teams with clarity and purpose.
Explore, develop or strengthen your emotional intelligence (EQ). Awareness of your and others’ emotions is at the heart of influencing, ‘reading people’, impactful communication, deep relating and authentic connection at work and in life.
Scale your business by embracing the experience and genius within your team. During this eight week program Coach Marlee will help you to develop a genuine appreciation for experimentation and data and a willingness to empower the opinions, feedback and insights from within your team and others in your life.
In this high impact eight week program Coach Marlee will help increase your comfort and confidence to scale your leadership and business, navigate your board and other stakeholders and also help you develop greater comfort to compete and collaborate at the top of your industry or field.
Develop ‘step back’ mastery for increased self-awareness and tools for scaling your business. Reflection and patience are core to consolidating learning, development, strategic thinking, growth and authentic leadership.
Comfort to initiate and kick things off is at the heart of a scaling your business. Close the gap between your great ideas and taking action on them. Strengthen your comfort and motivation to start conversations and initiate opportunities that can accelerate your business growth.
Explore, strengthen and stand by what you believe in business and in life. Trust in your ‘gut feel’ and point of view is especially helpful for scaling a business, inspiring others with your ideas and for living an authentic and meaningful life.
In this high impact nine week program Coach Marlee will help you to increase your self leadership and general wellbeing while also helping you to break through self sabotage, develop life long skills for emotional resilience and solid self-esteem, all crucial skills for scaling high growth ventures. Enjoy weekly cutting edge science backed wellbeing resources from Blisspot.
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