The Inter-Webbies are chock-full of advice on business leadership, entrepreneurship and management, not to mention vast numbers of books, coaches, consultants, the lists go on — it’s all over the place.
Much of the wisdom is the same and centers around motivation, communication and decision-making. The root of an unsuccessful business, in all but the most outlying of edge cases, is poor implementation (this is “intuitively obvious to the most casual observer”, as one of my profs used to love to say).
Poor implementation can mean a lot of things, but the root of the root is, in my experience, dishonesty with oneself. In other words, failure begins when you lie to yourself.
The ways in which human beings lie to themselves are many, well beyond running a company into much more profound emotional, psychological and spiritual areas. Startups are breeding grounds for self-deception but it happens in all businesses, small and large, new and old, lean and fat.
The most critical fails are often tactical — the day-to-day.
The biggest lies are when Managers think they know the tactical details of their businesses better than the Makers who are “on the ground” doing the real work.
The biggest lie of all is that Manager cannot trust Maker — cannot trust what Maker does, what Maker says, what Maker believes. Over and over, managers move mountains of time and money to find the right talent only to squander the investment by not trusting that talent.
If you’re a manager and you’re not trusting your people, your Fail has already begun. Start trusting them to do the jobs for which you hired them — no matter how right you think you are — and you have at least a fighting chance. Otherwise cut them loose — immediately.