You’re onboard a landing craft that is your lean startup. You have no time to get stuck on the beach or wait for help. Your hands are shaking, your heart is pounding. You’re excited and terrified. With you are those who volunteered to help you take over the island, a small group of troops who wait for your command, trusting in your knowledge, courage and leadership. Ahead of you is the unknown, the beachhead, the place where you might succeed or die. What are the odds of you winning? 1%? 5% at best.
What factors are against you? Is it the drenching rain? The heavy equipment? The limited weaponry that you can carry with you? Or is it the enemy hiding in the strongholds, waiting for you to step on the beach, trigger a mine and blow you up? In other words, are you bogged down by limited budget, uncharted new markets, or lousy office amenities?
Look behind you. What do you see on the faces of your troops? Doubt. Fear. Regret. Skepticism? Some excitement too? Anticipation? They have waited for this day to come. Your job is to turn their emotions into positive outcomes, to pump those who’re unsure up with your enthusiasm, energy, desire to win. You have no time to waste. Another minute and the ramp drops down. You face enemy fire, drop in ice-cold water and wade forward. You’re vulnerable. Everything can go wrong. You have limited time before your investors will want to see results. You’re worried about having left a secure job, you have bet away a good salary for stock options, maybe even have mortgaged your house, and know the cash balance is always going to be a challenge. How will you pay your team before the customers are going to generate revenue?
And yet, you have one chance to be first to market, to impress the press and analysts. Every moment counts.
To win, you have to deal with three T’s:
Every obstacle you encounter and overcome together builds an invisible link between your team members. In the future, this will save you misunderstood communications, unnecessary meetings, and indecision paralysis. If you can survive many little battles together, you can survive the big battle of remaining alive and at the same time build a strong organism that is ready to take on any adversity, which you will encounter aplenty. How do you accomplish all of this?
You can do it. It’s why you took the risk of founding your company. You dreamed up an idea, it inspired you, you selected a team and you took a dive. There is no way back. What else can you do in a situation like this except to follow your leader and to depend on your equipment? There is nowhere to go but forward.
Your to-do list:
P.S.: This video of my Nanaimo wreck penetration dive shows another situation where the only way is forward, and getting stuck is not an option. With limited tools and ultimate reliance on your team members.