Skip to main content

Why Don't They Support Me?

It's really great to see so many startups popping up around Central PA, and for me it gives me the chance to do one of my favorite things--help founders by giving advice. If only they could pay... :) 

This is something I'm hearing from a number of them recently.

You're working hard. You have vision and the plans to get there. You're executing on those plans. It's been a month or two, or six, and the people dependent on you don't know the details. They forget.

You've set the goals and strategy to get there. And you're doing the work. Everyone on your team is working hard, and you really have no idea whether this is going to work or not. 

And then your wife or husband questions you. Or a board member. Or a team member. And you can't understand why they don't support you fully, or whatever insecurity that creeps up and makes you feel alone.

Feels a bit unsettling. 

Maybe even feels a little rotten. And you know what? It's your fault. Not theirs. They don't understand because of you. 

There's a great scene in a mediocre movie, "The American President"--watch it before reading on (about 30 seconds). 

There's a vacuum. Your vacuum--you created it and left it unattended. 

So they fill that vacuum with their own insecurities, which leads them to a new set of beliefs and ideas, and they start talking about them, and to each other, and they reinforce their bright new but faulty set of beliefs and idea. 

And since they're the only ones talking, the people around them will drink the sand because they're so thirsty for leadership. 

If you don't lead, someone else will fill the vacuum, and in doing so they'll change the conversation, and in changing the conversation they'll change the business toward that new conversation. Or their relationship with you. And what they tell other people about it. 

It's erosive. 

But they forgot the mission because you allowed them to, and they no longer gave you the benefit of the doubt. 

You have to own the conversation. So how?

Tell them what you're about to tell them. Then tell them what you said you'd tell them. Then summarize what you told them. Do it weekly in email. Bi-weekly by phone. Rinse, repeat.  

Communicate what?
That you are leading, that you have a strategy toward reaching a specific goal, that you have a plan for managing toward success. 

What details?
The goal, strategy to get there, the specific tasks and deliverables, the dates of those deliverables, and the expected results of that work. 

So it takes a bit of work and a lot of repetition, but it's not hard. 

It's a discipline you really need to get into if you are working with other people, have investors, or have relationships dependent on you and your work. And it will prevent your hard work from becoming even harder, and will help strengthen your support as you go. 

And then, of course, you gotta actually deliver. :) 


Popular posts from this blog

Beta Signup

I've been working for quite a while on a new search concept, though the further in I get, the closer the rest of the world gets to what we're doing. So today I'm inviting you to sign up for the rather modest beta, which will be ready soon if we can nail down a few difficult  details. Jawaya is a way of navigating the web and getting better results. And that's as much as I can say right now, because we're not a funded startup, and things are moving really fast in this space--it's going to be very competitive. I predict there will be about 10 funded startups in the next 6 months doing something similar. One of them will be mine, and we aim to make it the best. We're raising a round of capital to fund the team, and are shooting for early sustainability. This is my fifth company; my fourth in the tech space, and my third software company. I think it will be the biggest and can possibly have a positive impact on the world by reducing the amount of time it takes

Where Innovation Happens

As I get closer to a go/no-go decision on a project, I've been thinking about the difference about my vision for the project and the supportive innovations to enable the core innovations The vision combines (in unequal parts) product, core innovation as I imagine it, the application of that core innovation, design, marketing,  developer ecosystem, and business development. The core innovation enables everything else, but it's the application of the innovation that makes it meaningful, useful, and in this case, fun. This week we're testing initial approaches to the implementation for our specific application, and that's where we'll develop the enabling innovations, which is basically where the rubber meets the road. The difference is that the enabling innovation happens at the source of real problems only encountered in the making of something, and in a project like this just getting the essence of it right isn't enough; it also has to be safe, the compone

The Real Jobs Problem

It's the economy, stupid.  Well, yes, it always has been, if you're in the distortion field of politics.  But whose economy? The pundits, the White House, the Republican candidates all miss the mark. They keep talking about debt, taxes, and monetary policy. None of those things tell the real story behind today's economy.  The Old Economy Keynes was right--in the old economy. Economy gets weak, pump some money into the economy through public works projects, which  1) puts people to work, which  2) boosts the economy and  3) generates new tax revenue, while  4) leaving us with another generation of reliable infrastructure to support  5) more growth (for growth's sake, which is another post).  The Beach Ball Imagine a beach ball, partially deflated to represent a recession. Got it? Now imagine the govt pumping that beach ball back up through sensible public investment (which we haven't seen for decades). The New Economy Same beach ball, same pum