My boss used to love asking questions. On every campaign, we used to design; he would ask ten questions. Once replied, they would lead to 10 more questions and so on. One day, I decided that I would start it as a pilot project, and we will keep answering his questions. After two months, he asked, “By the way, what happened to that X campaign?” I replied “well, we started as a pilot project and got some good learnings from it and now in a better position to answer your concerns” He paused for a while and then said “you did the right thing. Let’s go national”.
The market and the customer are the best ways to understand whether something works or not.
We can have endless boardroom discussions, but it has no comparison to the rich learnings in the market.
You are the leader of the business and the team and hence, you obviously own the results. And everything which happens between now and the results. But does your team own the business?
Why does this matter?
Are your employees coming to the office just to collect the paycheck? Then there is a serious problem. If the job, for them, means a vehicle to get a “bigger” or “better paying” job somewhere else, then, there is a problem. When someone says “I just follow instructions. If something goes wrong, it’s my boss’ problem” there is a serious problem.
When you own the business as if it is your own, you don’t wait for instructions. You are always on the lookout for opportunities. You will always want to be one step ahead of the competition.
We all know the story of Thomas Edison and how he made 1000 trials before he got it right and made the light bulb. Once a journalist asked him “what do you have to say about the 999 times you failed? Edison answered, “I learnt 999 ways Not to make a lightbulb.”
We know that Edison was a very shrewd businessman too.
What does this example mean to you?
For me, it shows the importance of a testing mindset. It shows the need to accept failures as a learning ground.
What happens if we don’t? A board room turns into a contest of blames rather than a hotbed of ideas.