It’s quite an achievement to earn your MBA, but there are some lessons that you can only learn from the School of Hard Knocks. Below are 5 lessons learned from personally coaching over a hundred Entrepreneurs and CEOs.
- What the title ‘Entrepreneur’ really means – hint: It’s a lot of work
While a lot of people hear ‘Entrepreneur’ and think high-living, silicon valley jet setter, the reality actually means huge sacrifices of time and effort, especially in the beginning. But, it’s also an opportunity to pursue your passion and put all of yourself into your work and then turn it into a business. Entrepreneurs have an unrelenting drive to pave their own way, be creative and build something they truly want to build that just might change the world. One question Entrepreneurs should be asking themselves daily to stay on track: “How committed are you, on a scale of 1-10, to your current project?” If it’s anything less than 10, you need to ask yourself; what’s the motivation behind the idea?
- It’s Absolutely Imperative to Hire the Best People
There’s always a “right” person for the task at hand. Be relentless in finding the right person for the right job at the right time for your company’s growth. And sometimes you have to make the tough decisions for the good of the company. The people that got you to where you are today typically won’t take you to where you want to go tomorrow. This means as your company grows, you may need to replace long-time employees and hire top-caliber performers who enable your company to jump to a new level.
- The Positive Effect of Failure
If you don’t fail, you’re playing it too safe and won’t build anything of lasting value. But don’t just embrace failure. Look at how those failed decisions were made, what kind of discipline was in the organization to make those decisions, and then apply a higher level, a more informed level of decision-making to future decisions. Like Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
- You Need to Manage for Disruptive Change
In the past, leaders and organizational structures around the world have been geared towards predictability, managing the status quo and managing for efficiency. But, as Salim Ismail quotes in his book Exponential Organizations, “The firms designed for success in the 20th century are doomed for failure in the 21st century.” So the education you received in university about leadership and business expansion is out of date. As a leader, your business will eventually die if you resist innovation and disruptive change.
- The Best CEOs are Always Learning
Entrepreneurs often seem like dilettantes, jumping in when the jumping looks good. But just as often, their callings are unexpected. Their insights lead them to become immersed in unknown markets, forcing them to soak up everything. CEOs with a high level of curiosity are acutely aware of their ignorance, their incompetence, their growth areas, but they are also deeply self-confident. That is the paradox of successful entrepreneurs–they are flawed but fearless.
As a CEO or Entrepreneur, what lessons have you learned from the School of Hard Knocks?