Avoid These Deadly Sins

In the chaos of your venture, and when under the influence of the daily pressure, passion, pleasure and pain you often find yourself saying things, doing things and allowing things that would be taboo in a normal environment. You think to yourself, “I am building a company, and I am too stressed and busy to worry about other people’s feelings all day. So what if I get a little angry with vendors or employees.” And it’s often probably a good thing there is not a human resources department. Many inappropriate things are said or done in the midst of the daily chaos. Our perspective is that they are “no big deal”. Anyone with some experience in the entrepreneurial world knows that it’s hard to be on your best behavior when you are reactive, time bankrupt, sleep deprived and feeling the pressure on a daily basis.

“Don’t overlook these crucial things.” 

These Deadly Sins should be a avoided at all costs. The after affects can be detrimental to the progress and growth of your organization.

  • It’s We, Not I. It’s Ours, Not Mine. This is your baby. It is your vision. It is your passion. You gave birth to it. You live it and breathe it. You are the only one that burned through your life savings. There is no doubt about your commitment and dedication. Now what about everyone else that you want to be dedicated to the cause? Why will they be committed? Why will they be committed when they are being paid below-market compensation, or only equity, while working crazy hours? When you use words like “my” or “I,” you may not realize the message this sends or the impact it has on people who have invested time and energy in the business and made numerous sacrifices for its success. It is understandable since this is your baby. Entrepreneurs often feel they are entitled to say this is “my” business. For some, it is a source of pride. This seems harmless initially, but it erodes your team’s connection to the venture. If you listen to experienced CEOs, they rarely use words like “I” or “my.” They understand the impact this has on employees—even those of a larger company. For employees of an entrepreneurial venture, the message reads: “Even though you continue to commit your blood, sweat and tears to the company, it is mine not yours.
  • Believing There Is No Competition. Everyone has competition. In a complex global economy with increasingly sophisticated technology, competition can occur almost immediately and from any corner of the world. If you or your company believe that you have no competition, or that no one can do what you do, you risk being viewed by vendors, investors and other needed resources, as naïve, inexperienced and ill-equipped to face the realities of doing business in today’s world. Instead of strengthening the position of your vision, you risk being perceived as blind, whether by ignorance or ego, or simply the strain of the pressure, passion, pleasure and pain. You become a risk, rather than a risk worth taking. Investors engage leaders who acknowledge, embrace, and strive to overcome the competition. Your ability to see reality must be as strong as your original vision if you want to bring it to life. Don’t run from or ignore competition. Acknowledge it, embrace it and take it head on with your best.
  • Dismissing How Your Team Feels. Everyone understands that entrepreneurial ventures don’t succeed, or exist, without hard work and dedication. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the needs and feelings of those struggling alongside you. If you dismiss your employees’ state of mind when you communicate or make decisions, you undermine your company’s strength, resilience and dedication to the business and its customers. You must respect the dedication it takes to do everything from the simplest daily task to the most complex business transaction. To do that, you have to be committed to knowing intimately how they feel and demonstrate that knowledge through thoughtful action and encouragement. If you are thinking, “I don’t have time to worry about how people feel,” your employees are thinking, “Does our leader really understand the sacrifice we are making?” That question is usually followed by, “I wonder if the sacrifice is worth it?”

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