It’s not the first idea…

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I’ve worked with a large number of successful entrepreneurs now and to a person, they concede that their initial idea and plans were not the ones that eventually made their companies successful. Instead, it was quite the contrary. They knew the initial idea was merely the starting point and the actual ‘eureka’ business model or product would be realized by exposing the initial idea to the market and its harshest critics, paying customers. The initial idea had to solve a problem theoretically, but solving those problems practically in a scalable way would come much later. The timeline, they say, is based entirely on a quick change management culture – the idea that constantly changing was in fact what they had to do. This fostered powerful internal dynamics of no sacred cows, good ideas as winners, and fear-of-change as losers.

There are dozens of articles and books on what I just wrote in one paragraph above. Their message is that simple. The real battles are not with external competitors or lack of money/resources, but with internal culture of becoming comfortable, resisting change, and having no formal way to harness criticism/feedback in a positive way to make those constant changes. This week, keep it simple. Ask yourself when the last time was that you received insightful feedback to you and your team’s work. If more than a month, then you need to worry. What are you doing to capture feedback and make changes? What process do you have in place to do this at multiple levels? Invest in these because if you do not, other unintentional cultural attributes will organically surface – boredom, laziness, lack of innovation, and working to clock in the hours. These attributes can be hidden if you are making money as a business, but will be exposed at first threat, when it will be too hard to course correct.

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