This was an intro short before a session at the 2021 Global Leadership Summit. There were 2 little nuggets in here that were helpful:
Leaders Need to Be Decisive and Stand Behind Their Decisions
Isn’t this the worst? Either because of ignorance or lack of confidence, the worst is to have a leader that isn’t clear about their decisions and then won’t take responsibility for what their team guessed that they decided.
I see this in myself and my kids when they aren’t sure about what we’re doing tonight, or when we’re trying to solve a problem. The uncertainty causes stress, but passivity is worse. Even when we don’t do anything or we wait, we do it on purpose.
My wife even made up a a song about “Wait and see, wait and see, wait wait wait wait and see” do deal with some of this patient uncertainty.
Once I got chewed out after a record-breaking event for leaving coffee mugs in the office sink. We had hundreds of people come through and most of our team worked from dawn to midnight. The opening of the debrief meeting the next day (afternoon!) was “there were coffee mugs left in the staff kitchen and that is inexcusable.”
Leaders need to be clear and decisive about the goals. If the whole team things that the goal was passing out hundreds of free meals for thanksgiving, they are going to focus on that. If the team thinks that the goal is to keep the staff kitchen clean, they’ll focus on that. They’ll probably do a great job.
In Your Rush to Ship, Ship the Right Thing
If you are in Akimbo or other Seth Godin circles, you know that shipping your work is the ultimate goal. It doesn’t count until it ships. Startup weekend also promotes the idea of the MVP (minimum viable product).
This speaker did a great job of warning us. If you ship a horse with plans to improve it later, you aren’t going to get to a Ferrari. Be patient and keep working on what you are working on so that you actually ship a real version of the thing that you are going to end up with.
The MVP mentality is good because it helps you get your idea out there, but it can radically affect your end product or service. You need to be open to that. Once we shipped a ready-made website in a box. It was meant to be low cost and put a lot of the work on the customer. Our team wouldn’t have to do much except train the buyer and they would be off and building their website.
The problem, we learned as we were shipping our very first version, is that Wix and WordPress.com had much better cheap solutions for small businesses that wanted to build their own websites. We should have dumped it right then and gone after the people that wanted to pay developers to build their websites. We were skilled designers and developers and that was the service we should have sold.
In our rush to ship a cheap thing that we would improve over time, we shipped something that wasn’t worth us standing behind. It always turned into a custom build and hourly billing anyway, which wasn’t what we sold the customer in the first place. We lost money, but if we hoped to make money, it would have been off of the fine print, not the sales features.
And making money off of the fine print is the worst business model in the world.