The most dangerous person in your business is you.
I’ve been there. Mad start-up idea, enthusiastic investors, big raise, late product, no traction, short ramp, wheels fall off, everybody pissed. Yet even down to the last board meeting where we closed the doors you couldn’t tell me it wasn’t going to work.
I told my story as a cautionary tale in a business magazine some years back, writing: “when I look back I liken entrepreneurship to taking a run at a cliff and daring yourself to go over. And when I ask myself how far would I go, I know now that I would go over the edge expecting to grasp a few roots on the way down, to land on a ledge, or even, should I hit the ground… to bounce!”
That’s not necessarily the point of view of a rational human being. This is what I mean, when I say, “the most dangerous person in your business is you!”
Entrepreneurs do things differently. They have a hunch and act on it, and through force of will bring people with them. That’s a great energy when you are getting started but early on the data points start to tell you something. Money, people, products, market, the data points keep coming and if the news is not what the entrepreneur wants to hear too often they ignore them.
Then the darker side emerges. Risk taking becomes recklessness, endurance becomes obstinacy, and those well-honed motivational skills verge on manipulative as people are taken to places they had no intention of ever going. The price can be paid in quality of life, asset stripping, poor health, and the removal of basic supports from family and team members.
This is one of the founding stories of Get Real. Armed with the shared experience of being able to look back at former businesses and ask “what on earth we were thinking”, we asked each other “given what we know now what or who might have helped us make more rational decisions back then?”
And the Decision Sprint was born.
It’s basic tenet is: Always test your assumptions.
As an entrepreneur you have to understand that the hunch that got you started has to give way to the insights and the data, early on.
Get the most from your team and your customers
There are three groups of experts in your business/product/market: your team, your customers, and other businesses like yours. Collectively they hold the insights into the assumption you want to test. We designed the Sprint to make sure that everyone gets heard.
Be efficient with your time
We understand that nobody has time for endless discussions and meetings. That’s why we condensed the Decision Sprint into two days: Day One – Understand the Problem; Day Two – Produce Testable Solutions.
It is easy to be sceptical around team decision making, “designed by committee” being one common accusation. That’s not how we work. We believe that Individuals working alone generate transformative and breakthrough ideas and teams validate them. We also hold to the tenet that the Decider decides. Someone has to be in charge, so we weight the Sprint to give the business/product owner’s opinion a heavier bias and ultimately leave the decision making to them.
All that can be summed up in one sentence: “give up two days of your time; get back ten weeks of your life.”