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商业领袖最容易忽略的七个重要经验

Aidan Fitzpatrick 2016年01月22日

很多未来的企业家可能还没有认识到他们的潜能。首先你要知道人人都能成为一个企业家,这样才能使你认识到你的潜能。

“透视创业家”是一个在线社区,一些美国创业界里最有智慧和影响力的创业大咖会在这里及时回答关于创业和职场的问题。今天为大家分享的是Reincubate的创始人兼CEO艾丹·菲茨帕特里克。

这些年我先后创办了几家公司,创业是一段充满挑战但又富有回报的旅程,我在这个过程中学到了一些来之不易的经验。我发现许多针对创业者的建议往往过于绝对化,陷入了非黑即白的模式,而真相往往是更为微妙的。有些基本的元素——比如一些价值也是非常重要的,但往往会被忽略。下面是我在创业历程中学到的一些意义最为重大的经验。

建议有时是没用的

市面上有成千上万的书本和博客都会从方方面面教你怎样创业,你也可以直接向一些成功企业家请教他们的经验,但是他们的建议并非总是适合你的实际情况。说到底,从长期看来,自学才是更有价值的。

很多大企业都有一些类似的计划,鼓励员工直接将他们的建议告诉创业者。但是在一家公司里有用的流程,未必对另一家公司也有用,特别是如果这两家公司所处的阶段不同。我在其他人的故事中发现过价值,也在分享自己的故事的过程中发现过价值,而不是直接寻找详细的答案。

企业家并不是另一种人

我并不是一个“天生特立独行的人”,生来也不带着“企业家的基因”。和我认识的许多其他企业家一样,我也曾以为,企业家精神是给其他人准备的。我曾以为企业家都带有王者之气,可能我是电视看多了。现在我认为,很多未来的企业家可能还没有认识到他们的潜能。首先你要知道人人都能成为一个企业家,这样才能使你认识到你的潜能。

专注是一种最难的修行

作为企业的创始人,你必须在企业的成长过程中担负起企业转型的职责。在这个课题上,我读过的最好的一句话,是要明白“做企业”和“做事情”的价值。一开始创业的时候,兢兢业业的做事是很重要的。但随着企业发展到下一阶段,企业家一般需要专注于企业本身。吉姆·柯林斯在其著作《从优秀到卓越》中阐述了很多“专注于企业”的特质。

过去几十年,创业越来越受到人们的追捧,也被人们奉为一种生活方式。如果过于担心失败,就很难不被分心。比如,你可能听说某人加入了某个名声大噪的创业俱乐部,从某个知名风投那里拉来了融资,或是认识某个火到不行的创业大咖。但是你花在追赶竞争对手上的时间,和花在试图进入某一个场合上的时间,本来是可以用在打造一个产品和一项业务上的,那才是你应该担心自己会错失的东西。

价值如果制定得好,可以对构建企业产生巨大帮助

在Reincubate创业之初时,我们把整个团队带到国外度假,花了一个下午的时间坐在一起想公司的价值。这次感觉貌似很好的会议最后得出了一系列陈词滥调,它们后来很快就被遗忘了。一直到我读到凡尔纳·哈尼什的《掌握洛克菲尔的习惯》时,我才真正理解了核心价值的力量与用途。

我想到了哪些东西在企业里对我最重要,然后想办法让大家理解我为什么要构建它,从而催生出了一套重新定位的价值,它们在企业的战略、产品、招聘和运营决策中起了很大作用。这本书已经成为企业最有价值的投入之一。

与没有竞争关系的伙伴之间的关系可能是极为宝贵的

创业是一段孤独的旅程,当面临一个新问题的时候,要找到见解并非总是那么容易。创业者可能会被财务、管理、战略和士气等各种问题包围。你的亲人、合作伙伴和朋友,很少能中立地看问题,他们通常迫切地想给你提建议,或者告诉你究竟应该怎样做。不负责任的建议是很容易给出的,尤其是在一些危险的问题上。

我幸运地发现了一个非盈利性学习组织——企业家组织(EO)。我通过EO认识了整个论坛的所有创业者,我现在经常和他们一起分享我的得失,从他们身上学习,根据他们衡量我的绩效指标。对我来说,它既可以释放我的压力,也给我提供了一个宝贵的学习和获得灵感的资源。

没有事先验证过的大规模产品投资往往容易出错

我曾花了100多万美元建立一家公司,然而却失败了,因为我起初没有测试它的生钱能力。除此之外,还有一些更简单的失误也能导致企业损失大量宝贵的时间,其至可以拖慢企业的发展——比如几乎没有做测试,便一次性而不是一点一点地更换一个重要的网站。我在商业上最成功的项目总是来自那些先花时间做出简单原型产品的项目。

每次招聘都想招到完全适合的人是不可能的

心理学上的邓宁—克鲁格效应指的是人们缺乏足够的技能了解自身的不足。如果这个问题解决得太晚,那么对于员工、他们的同事以及整个公司都是不公平的,所以解决这个问题是很重要的。本·霍洛维茨的著作《创业维艰》为解决这个问题给出了很多有见解的思考。

在团队成长的过程中,我学到了两个有用的技巧。首先是要尽可能多、尽可能快地对新招聘进来的员工给予信任。新员工被招聘进来后,我不会给他们简单的任务,而是会分配给他们更富有挑战性的任务,并且希望他们能从第一周就产生成果。这会使他们产生一种自主感和成熟感,同时会直接展示他们自身能力的不足。第二个技巧是,在员工进步的每一个阶段,都简单地反思一下:现在我对他们已经了解了这么多,我还会再次聘用那个人吗?

除了以上建议,我的创业历程还给我带来了很多其他重要的经验,而且我相信,以后我也会总结出更多经验教训。创业最令人兴奋的一点就是你未来还将学到很多东西——当然同时也会带来各种挑战。我很期待学到新东西,也愿意将我的经验分享给需要帮助的人。(财富中文网)

本文作者Aidan Fitzpatrick是Reincubate公司的创始人兼CEO,该公司是iOS、iCloud和应用数据评估技术的市场领头羊。他也是企业家组织(EO)的英国地区主席。

译者:朴成奎

The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “What’s something you wish you knew before starting your business?” is written by Aidan Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Reincubate.

Starting a couple of my own companies over the years has set me on a challenging, but deeply rewarding journey, and I’ve learned a handful of hard-won lessons along the way. Advice for entrepreneurs is often reduced to absolute statements and black-and-white “do’s” and “don’ts,” but I’ve found the truth is more nuanced. Some fundamentals—such as values—are critical, yet often overlooked. Here are the lessons that have meant the most to me on my entrepreneurial journey:

Advice can be unhelpful

There are thousands of incredible books and blogs on the many aspects of building a business, and while it can be tempting to shortcut learning on your own by asking other entrepreneurs what to do, their advice might not always fit. After all, learning on your own is more valuable in the long run.

A number of large companies have programs offering advice from their staffs directly to startups. But processes that work well in one company may not work in another, especially one that’s at a different stage. I have found value in seeking out stories of others’ experiences, as well as sharing my own, rather than looking for explicit answers.

Entrepreneurs aren’t a different breed

I’m not an “intuitive maverick,” born with “the entrepreneur gene.” Like many business owners I’ve met, I used to think that entrepreneurship was for other people. I thought that business owners were domineering personalities. (Perhaps I watched too much TV.) I now believe that many future entrepreneurs don’t yet know their own potential, but understanding that anyone can become an entrepreneur can help you realize what you’re capable of.

Focus is one of the hardest disciplines

As a founder, the role one must carry out in a company changes as the company grows. One of the best phrases I’ve read on the subject was the value of working “on” rather than “in” the business. At the start, it can be important to work on delivery, but to grow to the next stage, an entrepreneur typically has to focus on the business itself. Jim Collins’ book Good to Great illustrates a number of these on-the-business characteristics.

Entrepreneurship has gained increasing profile over recent decades and has come to be celebrated as something of a lifestyle. It’s hard not to get distracted by the fear of missing out. For example, you might know someone who’s involved in the glitziest startup clubs, raising investment from the most popular firms, and connected to the splashiest founders. But as with time spent chasing competitors, time spent getting into a scene is time lost from building a product and a business. That’s what you should fear missing out on.

Values—surfaced well—are a huge help to building an organization

Fairly early on in the journey of building Reincubate, we took the entire team abroad on a company holiday and spent an afternoon coming up with company values. This feel-¬good session produced a set of platitudes, which were quickly forgotten. It was only upon reading Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits that I came to truly understand the power and utility of core values.

I surfaced what mattered most to me in the business, and worked to understand and communicate more readily why I was building it. This led to a refocused set of values, which have been instrumental in decision-¬making around strategy, product, recruitment, and operations. That book has been one of the most valuable inputs for the business.

Relationships with non¬competing peers can be incredibly valuable

Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey, and it isn’t always easy to find perspective when faced with a new problem. Entrepreneurs can be beset with challenges around finance, management, strategy, and morale. Family, partners, or friends are rarely neutral, and they’re often eager to advise or tell one exactly what to do. Advice is easy to give without accountability, especially on loaded topics.

I was fortunate to find the nonprofit learning group, Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). From EO, I gained a forum of peers who I now share my ups and downs with, learn from, and benchmark performance against. For me, this has been both a critical release and a valuable source of learning and inspiration.

Big, unprovable product investments tend to go wrong

I spent over $1 million trying to build a company that failed. I didn’t test its ability to monetize early enough. Even simpler missteps—such as replacing an important website all at once with little testing, rather than bit by bit—can cost valuable time and can set back a company’s progress. My most commercially successful projects have always sprung from the back of simple prototypes, assembled in a few days.

Getting a perfect “fit” with each new hire is impossible

The Dunning-¬Kruger effect describes a cognitive bias where individuals lack the skills to understand that they are out of their depth. Addressing this too late is unfair to the employee, their colleagues, and the company, so it’s important to tackle it. Ben Horowitz’s book, The Hard Thing about Hard Things, has a number of insightful reflections on getting this right.

I’ve learned two useful techniques to follow as the team grows. The first is to award new hires with as much trust as possible and as rapidly as possible. Rather than giving them simple tasks, I set more challenging ones and expect them to deliver in their first week. This gives them a sense of autonomy and mastery (two of the three attributes illustrated in Dan Pink’s book, Drive) and gives a real demonstration as to the current limit of their capabilities. The second technique is a simple reflection at each stage as they progress: Would I hire that person again, knowing what I know now?

Aside from these, there have been many other important lessons for me, and I am sure there are more to come. That promise of future learning—and the challenges that will come with it—is one of the most exciting parts of entrepreneurship. I’m looking forward to that learning, and to sharing my experiences with others where I can help them in turn.

Aidan Fitzpatrick is the founder and CEO ofReincubate, the market leader in iOS, iCloud, and app data access technology. He is UK President of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).

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