There are very few things that make me sad, but one is watching the perpetual tailspin of an entrepreneurial group or individual.
If you are part of an entrepreneurial endeavor, you probably owe it to yourself to read this.
There are some important entrepreneur tips to absorb.
When I left the typical corporate grind working for a Fortune 50, one of my goals was to help others succeed, to push further, go farther, and find something bigger for themselves.
In many cases I have succeeded.
I have an amazing network of people ranging from social media clubs, alumni associations, industry groups, small business owners, and corporate executives that I’ve help take to the next level. Many of those people have become both professional and personal friends. In many professional groups I’m the “go to” guy that looks at things holistically.
When people know they’ve broke something I’m usually the guy who has cognitive skills to fix it.
I could relay incredibly complex recommendations, but it basically comes down to this:
Of all the things I say to entrepreneurs: be happy.
Treat people like your friends.
Expect good things of them.
When they have fault, help them overcome.
and like Mom said, treat people like you want to be treated.
One would think that achieving happiness…
would be a simple act.
We know better right?
For me the past few days happiness proved elusive.
I had the displeasure to watch a group of people I had grown to care about severely falter and I had to make the personal choice to stop my support.
In my entire professional life I have done that three times.
When I titled this as Entrepreneurial lessons of Humpty Dumpty I was simply trying to identify one of the largest obstacles that any entrepreneur faces:
Surviving the fall, but failing to learn from the experience.
Entrepreneurs often become confused by taking actions that are repetitive in nature.
This is a human trait: we do the things we inherently know.
It could also be said that most of us take the easy way out.
For Humpty this flaw was simply an urge to sit on the wall.
Perhaps he simply thought it was the best place to sit.
In real life we choose our personal defaults by a life-long indoctrination of personal experiences. These personal ‘defaults’ become a harness, a box, and a leash that prevent us from experiencing things in a holistic and unbiased way. We allow our perspectives to limit ourselves simply by allowing ourselves to be restricted to the box our past experiences have placed us in.
The longer we are in the box, the higher the perceived walls that entrap us become.
Trying to break the cycle
Since most of us take the easy way out, we need to rely on qualified coaches and mentors who are willing to push our boundaries and convince us to explore the unknown.
If I was Humpty’s friend and mentor I would have gave him a tour guide or teach him how to safely sit on the wall.
As an individual entrepreneur this is an incredibly hard process.
When you begin to scale the same tendencies to a group of entrepreneurs it typically becomes a quagmire as everyone has different fears and tolerance of the unknown.
Imagine trying to keep an army of Humpty Dumpties from sitting on the wall. It would be like a massive family of lemmings leaping to their death.
With this specific group, I had had multiple meetings and late night conversations with the core team regarding some of the issues, but I simply couldn’t get them to act on breaking the cycle of actions that were derailing them from success.
The unfortunate part was that the repetitive cycle had been going on for five to ten years and had been slowly and had attritioned through well-intended supporters and personal friends. The cost was not only preventing the success of the group as a business, but it was also acting as a destructive element across dozens of personal relationships.
If you had a ladder…
When we think about Humpty and his fateful fall, we should spend a minute thinking about the steps he took to get there.
As entrepreneurs move up each rung of the ladder and get higher the chance of falling remains the same, but the perception of failure and fear is exaggerated.
For a team of entrepreneurs this means that the portions of the group will refuse to climb the ladder any higher. Eventually a few people make it to the top and the rest hang on for dear life because they are too afraid of reaching the top. This is where team collaboration and support plays a crucial role.
As a group you can’t leave people behind.
You need to get everyone to the top.
Leaders must adhere to this character the most.
If you abandon your team you aren’t a leader,
you are an opportunist willing to leave people behind.
Humpty Dumpty was an opportunist,
who acted outside of the group and had
no one to catch him.
The Real World Ending of Humpty Dumpty
In my personal case, I was indirectly involved with a group that meant a great deal to someone I care very deeply about.
I spent days (if not weeks, possibly months) trying to understand some of the core issues of the group from various personal, professional, creative, business, and individual viewpoints.
In other groups this level of coaching led to thousands (in some cases tens of, or hundreds of thousands) of people being happily involved. In my personal and professional experience, when people enjoy the group and enjoy the act of being entrepreneurs- the chance of success multiplies a hundred fold.
The group had several different ladders that a few of them were willing to climb. Many of the other members were scared of success or couldn’t commit to the risk of climbing the ladder. A good number of them realized that there were no safety lines for the adventure, and only a few of them had nothing to risk (and everything to gain.)
As people climbed higher than each other, the others below them complained, shook the ladder, and even tried to push them off the wall.