Are you optimizing your power for you or for what’s right for your community? Or are you accidentally alienating your community with a power flaw?
Every day we are confronted with hundreds of decisions that impact how our day will evolve. These decisions can be viewed tightly through just our own lens and the consequences to us with that narrow view. But more and more that lens seems to get narrower and narrower to the point where we cannot even see – or dare say care – about the cultural consequences of others.
News flash, we are not alone in this world and our actions, behaviors and those pesky little decisions do impact our startup community.
It’s a complex world where human actions have major impact. Think about that butterfly flapping its wings in China and then it rains in Des Moines. Even the most inconsequential action has an impact. Operating without this awareness is a recipe for the power flaw.
For founders, investors, community leaders, vendors, media/content sharers and government bureaucrats (to name but a few) who all play an impactful role in your startup community, take heed.
I think about the investor who has not made an investment in over 3 years but who still fancies himself as the most active leading investor in town and still takes meetings with vulnerable first-time entrepreneurs inexorably getting their hopes up but actually wasting their time.
I think about the social media savvy community enthusiast who has a natural curmudgeonly view of everything startup in their nascent community who publicly rails against every effort to accelerate the very thing they purportedly support. They foster fear and doubt of what is possible to a community struggling to form a new identity.
I think about the 20-year veteran entrepreneurial leader sitting on millions of dollars in that struggling small-town operating pay to play programming in support of needy founders yet in effect throttling those same founders by executing a flawed and dated strategy. They are so powerful by controlling so much money (aka the oxygen) that they leave no room (oxygen) for others to survive,
Just because you can does not mean you should.
I think about the motivations of these very real actors. I wonder how they view themselves and whether they are self-aware. I wonder if they truly understand the impact these seemingly small decisions are having on the very person they are hoping to influence and support.
This line resonates with me: “I wonder how they view themselves and whether they are self-aware.”
After 25 years working in, with, and around start-ups, I’ve observed that self-awareness is one of the biggest challenges for founders. Ironically, those who think they are best able to read the room are often the ones who need the most improvement.