The question isn’t "if", but "how"

“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you will probably be right.”
~ Henry Ford II

I had an interesting experience at a recent marketing roundtable that I was leading for a fast-growing manufacturer of branded and private label products. The founder and CEO was in the session, along with members of the management and sales teams. One of the “sticky” points brought up by management was that the entrepreneur did not share enough of his ideas in advance. In essence, he consistently held his cards close to his chest. This made it difficult for managers to make the day-to-day, tactical decisions that would contribute to the firm’s long-term strategic direction. In response, the owner’s candid and somewhat surprising opinion resonated with me. And it still does to this day.

He said, “I don’t always share my ideas with everyone because in the past, when I have, there has been too much negative reaction and people saying why the idea couldn’t or wouldn’t succeed.”  He found the responses to be a deterrent, demotivating rather than motivating and usually dead wrong. This from a man who had successfully built and sold one business and was building another that was on a fast track to surpass $100 million in annual revenues.

I think the majority of us who understand the underpinnings of entrepreneurial thinking can share his sentiment. I know that I do. And I can’t think of one successful entrepreneur I have met who doesn’t know that audacious thinking drives new ideas, and that negative “can’t-do” thinking kills them. Entrepreneurs can’t succeed without an unwavering commitment to their own ideas and beliefs. To them, the question isn’t “if”, but “how”.

– Ken Tencer