I thought I’d try something a little ambitious and catalog activities that can help people in their endeavors to be better entrepreneurs. So the first activity I’ll write about, I will call, “Say Yes.”
The reality of any new product or business is that while there may be a goal in mind, the path from where you are to where you wish to be isn’t known and cannot be. Making plans yourself puts you in a position of not hearing powerful alternatives and also removes your objectivity that you desperately need to have. Finally, this exercise will work towards a much more healthy way of working where a team is carrying the weight instead of yourself.
You want to build a successful business or product. You have an idea of how to get there. You make a plan.
Take a quick inventory of what all you feel you need to get done for your product or business. For each of the items, ask yourself if you’d trust one of your team with deciding completely how to solve that problem instead of just completing the action item. If the answer is, “Yes, I trust them,” find one that makes you hesitate.
Take a moment to figure out why you don’t trust your team to handle it. Move past the excuse of a skill and experience gap. Consider that you don’t actually trust your team to make the right call.
Now, take a deep breath, and let them make the call instead. Make no mention of your plan, idea, or how you would have done it. Tell them the problem you were trying to solve, and ask them what they would do. Say yes to whatever they decide and help them accomplish it.
- You hear an idea that sounds pretty good to you
- The team’s actions lead to results that are fine
- You learned a little more about why you felt the need to make plans
- You find yourself asking, “What do you think,” more often
- You begin to wonder about how you would ever know that any action would succeed or not
- You begin to delegate larger and more significant problems to your team
- You blame the team for whatever happens
- You feel compelled to check in on their progress
- You find yourself continually frustrated at their decisions or progress
- You do what you wanted to anyway
- You believe that your plan was better than theirs
A quick note, if you begin to experience the, “Bad Signs,” then it should be a signal to you that you have some areas of growth as an entrepreneur and leader. Try and consider that you will never be successful in any large sense if you cannot successfully entertain alternatives and trust your team. This activity is meant to surface some of these growth areas in a lot of people.
If you, on the other hand, don’t feel that any of the bad happened an only the good, I’d wonder if you actually gave the team a problem that made you hesitate. If you also didn’t find a single problem on your plate that you’d trust to the team completely then you have a quality very few have, or you are a narcissistic liar.