On Winning and Failing in Business

Recently, I have spoken to an old friend who is building a platform that connects the key stakeholders of the entrepreneurial eco-system in Latin America. Despite huge success stories in the past year, doubts arouse whether the team is still on the right track… At this point many teams get frustrated, want to get busy and jump to the next “super urgent” thing that needs to get done… My take, however, is the following…

Rule #1: You have to believe that you (and your team) are the best (or the potential to become the best!)
Rule #2: Always remember that “WINNING OR LOOSING does not matter, if you give 100%, because there is always a tomorrow.”
Rule #3: In case of failure / confusion / tension between you and your team, stay objective & ask the right questions instead of blaming each other for the failure…

  • Why are you here (as a team)? What is your purpose? (your objective is to change reality from an undesired state into a desired one)
  • What was your plan? (What initiatives did you start in order to achieve your objectives? who was involved in the decision-making process?)
  • How much energy, passion, sacrifices and hard work did you and your team invest in order to realise your plan?
  • What have you achieved? (How much progress have you made?)
  • What have your learned? (Has your reality changed? or did you realise that your purpose, plan, or/ and execution efforts are not compatible?
  • Do you have to change direction? (Really? Why? What are the reasons? What dimensions do you have to change? Is it real change of direction or is it a shift of focus to another piece of the puzzle? If it is another piece of the puzzle, what is the big picture? Can you anticipate future shifts? Are you tackling the appropriate piece? or are there initiatives that will provide you with more synergies for pushing future initiatives?)
  • Is your mind clear to objectively explore several alternatives? (Think before you act! effectiveness is more important than efficiency at this point)
  • Making the transition work: At what speed are you and your team “running” the show? (If you are running a sprint, don´t forget that inertia is pushing you to stay on track… Avoid making disruptive moves in order to reduce friction and de-motivation… you either have to reduce the speed before making a sharp turn or adjust the direction slightly in order to make an arch)

Maybe this helps to get everybody on the same page, think about the big ambitious picture that you are trying to achieve and inspire the creation of effective initiatives that will get you and your team reach you destiny and avoid conflicts that arise from insecurity and ego-battles…

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