I was fired the other day. It’s not the first time. Likely not the last. I think it boils down to my communication style being direct. I suppose I can be criticized for lacking tact and subtlety. I know I can come across as harsh.
What I find bothersome is that business choices are evaluated between dealing with hard realities or making someone feel a little more comfortable by ignoring realities. Grown, seasoned, seemingly serious business people frequently chose being comfortable over being effective. I don’t think this bodes well for the future of business, especially entrepreneurial ventures that are so dependent on a small number of leaders making critical decisions in real time.
There is a myth in the entrepreneurial communities today that having a good idea somehow translates to business success. It doesn’t. The road to failure is paved with a lot of good ideas lying in decay next to all the bad ideas. While having a good idea is indeed a necessary component for success, it is hardly sufficient.
What separates the success stories from failures is the ability to make hard decisions, do hard things, get out of your comfort zone, and execute a solid business plan. Hard decisions come in many forms. Hard people decisions. Hard financial decisions. Hard client decisions. Hard product or service decisions. Frequently, the right decision is the one that makes our stomach turn, makes us have a conversation that we’d like to avoid at all costs, and makes us come face to face with our prior mistakes. Every entrepreneur faces these moments of truth. The few who succeed take them head-on. The rest shrink.
If you are an entrepreneur, find those people who make you uncomfortable, who don’t care about your feelings because they truly care about your business and your long-term success. Ask them to tell you the hard realities. Listen. Take action. Throw up in the corner if you need to. Don’t shrink. There is still no guarantee of success, but you will be a lot closer than the weak and easily intimidated who couldn’t hear the truth.
While you’re doing that, I’ll probably be pushing someone else to the precipice. I may have to reprint this sometime soon.