Entrepreneurs get angry because the coffee is cold

entrepreneur baby

Every business starts small. When your business is small its easy to micromanage. But when you grow it becomes impossible to be on top of everything, and so you must delegate.

You will give your team more autonomy and responsibility.

If you are to focus on the big stuff you need to know your team has the small stuff in hand. One day you’ll be delegating even the big stuff and your entire company will rely on your team not screwing it up.

Thats why you must sweat the small stuff. Because it will eventually become big stuff and if you didn’t set the ground rules early your company will crash. An entrepreneur should lose his temper when it comes to broken promises and mistakes that could be avoided.

Even the smallest broken promise or avoidable mistake should make your blood boil. To paraphrase the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. “If my coffee is too hot or too cold its no good. It must be just right.”

Moving fast in business is about trust. And trust is all about keeping promises. You can’t trust people that don’t keep their promises. You can’t move fast if you don’t have trust. If you can’t move fast you fail.

That’s why you can’t have people in your team who don’t keep their promises.

Not keeping promises can be a function of three things:

1. Not sufficiently understanding the challenge.

2. Not working hard enough.

3. Lying

An experienced team cannot use excuse No. 1. This means there is no excuse which is not a fire-able offence.

As the founder of a fast-growing business you will inevitably find yourself losing touch with the details of your operations. The following team rules are useful for managing expectations and ensuring speed regardless of consensus.

  1. Management will be followed literally, including when we jest. We jest not.
  2. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the instruction, if you disagree with the instruction, if the instruction hurts your feelings. You will do it will a smile.
  3. No try. Only do. And do fast. If it can’t happen on the same day you need a good reason or you need a good CV.
  4. Lead by example. Be on time. Be early at office. Be friendly to visitors.

The only updates your team should send are as follows:

  1. The work is done.
  2. The work will be done by (date).
  3. The work cannot be done because (reason).
  4. I need help.

If you are building a pleasure boat, then by all means don’t hold people to their promises. Be forgiving, be a nice guy.

But if you’re trying to get to the moon then do not tolerate the smallest mistake. Ask yourself: Am I willing to pay the price of success?

If the answer is YES, then build a ship that can go to the moon.

If the answer is no, you know what you have to do.


Also published on Medium.