Wednesday, January 21, 2009

to believe or not to believe, that is the question

On these times of doubts and economical distress people turn to startups and new companies and ask you constantly "how is your company doing? Are you certain about your future?

In big companies nobody really cares if you believe or not in the company strategy. Probably CEO -1 and -2 it does have a bit more relevance but you can really not believe in your leaders or strategies and just execute and nothing (wrong) will happen

But with entrepreneurs the theme is very different. Entrepreneurs have always to believe and can't have a moment of doubt (at least not in public). Your investors and board members will make you all type of questions, want to see more of your business these days, understand better your new strategy or product roadmap but after drilling you with questions they want to be reassured with your belief in the company and its future

And then we have the employees which are looking at you when you are in the middle of new strategy definition or a cost cutting measures because they want to sense your passion, drive and belief is there. They need and want reassurance

I just remember talking today with Andrea about several board meetings we have had in the past 2 weeks and ending it up the conversation saying "I actually do have a strong belief in the new direction" and her saying "well you should".

What is the most interesting paradox in all of these? That many times I have seen that when someone in the management team has doubts and raises them on the executive meetings, it raises many questions and fascinating internal debates among us that end it up being the drivers of new strategies, important reflections or reaffirming a direction. And yes at the end of all of that "I have a doubt" process, we as a management team we do believe even more

So let me tell you. These are difficult times but I do believe in our business, people and partners and I am excited about the tough, difficult but promising and full of opportunities months ahead


  1. On a recent conversation I stated that leaders ( and by leaders I mean management- CEO, CIO, COO...etc) cannot allow themselves to be demotivated.

    This fact is even more obvious when it comes to start ups. Start-up leaders are probably the most demanding when it comes to recruitment. This is easy to understand as the success or failure of the company is intimately related to the skills (on any area - technical, commercial...etc.) of their human capital. The impact of the performance of each employee is crucial.

    But what is even more important is the leader that guides the company through the ups and downs. One finds some common qualities on these people, they are passionate, demanding, confident decision-makers, enemies of protocols and generally workaholics (among others).

    Looking at people (no matter their position) as employees - and by employees I mean with a management hierarchy above might say that people are motivated by money, but , after having interviewed over a thousand people, i have found there is a common remark in their motivations towards work, and this common point is their boss.

    The figure of a boss has the greatest influence on ones professional life: it can make you hate a job you love, quit it, turn you psychically unstable or make you stick under the worst conditions possible.

    This really shows when things go wrong in a company, the employee can always look up to this figure that will throw some light, motivation or energy to go on.This is why, in order to release some management pressure, I will always recommend managers to recruit self-motivated people VS gurus.

    But what happens in start up companies? what happens when your upper hierarchies are investors? who motivates you then?

    Probably nobody.

    This means that leaders should always be strongly self motivated people with no right to feel weak or doubt in front of employees or investors. Almost heroes.

    "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."

  2. Keka nice and insightful comments
    I could not see your profile so will love to know who you are