Saturday, December 24, 2011

WWED? = What Would an Entrepreneur Do?

A number of month's back I wrote "WWED?" on a post-it note to help stimulate discussion with a partner at a law firm. I stuck that note to my bulletin board and find myself pointing to it day after day – as well as using it to help fuel my own decision making.

Many people use the I/U process (Important/Urgent) to help focus their time and effort (as do I), but I am not sure this helps decide what you should do. Or how you should act.
"WWED?" delivers instant clarity.
A few times, I have done nothing more than point to the post-it note to help my client get over the decision-making 'hump.'

So... What would an entrepreneur do?

I doubt there is a comprehensive list or even an action plan for decision-making entrepreneur-style, but I do think there are some ground rules.

1) Make decisions. Stop waiting for others to force your hand. If you need to be nagged to move forward, you are either being guilted into a bad course of action or you are not an entrepreneur.
2) Lead by example. Leave a wake, not a memo. Enough said.
3) Pick up the phone. E-mail is great for sharing details, but not for having decisive and brief discussions, providing solutions or delivering bad news (and eating crow.) Or better still, make a personal appearance.
4) Trust your people. Even if you did not choose them. And even if they are your superiors. Let them know that you don't always expect success, but you always expect sweat, urgency, and immediate heads-up when a problem occurs. And you expect them to learn when they fail.
5) Rise the tide. Too many people think that entrepreneurs are looking to hobble their competitors. Anyone who believes this is not an entrepreneur. So-called competitors are often the best collaborators and, even as adversaries, provide later insights you won't get if you ostracize them.
6) Find time to think. Entrepreneurs are doers, but, even more so, they are thinkers. They carve off time, close their door, walk to lunch instead of taking a cab, draw on napkins, etc. ... all to figure stuff out vs. checking stuff off.

… and the list goes on.

But the point is this:

Regardless of your role at your organization, you can create a mental box of your ownership. You can determine the part of the business you control and from which you can create value for all the boats in the lock, not just your own dingy.

That is, if this were "You LLC," how would you act? What decisions would you make? What would you stop doing?

You would never say, "It's only company money." Or blame others for your failure. Or wait for outside forces to force your hand. Or goof off on Facebook because no one is watching. Or show up at 9:00 am sharp every day since that's when your job starts. Or do value-less things because others assigned them... Etc. ... Etc.

To end:

Next time you are face with a decision, no matter how seemingly small, ask yourself, "WWED?"