How to Row the Boat in Your Startup

By Nicolas Theoret

The Oar — without energy, death.

The oar represents energy. An elite business requires 100% energy. A common misconception is that we only have so much energy in a day. In reality, it’s a habit. If we’re not bringing energy to our work life, we aren’t bringing energy to our home life either. So let’s bring it! Start by devoting 100% energy to one assignment, interaction, or workout a day and allow it to spread to other parts of life. This is especially important in leadership roles. Energy is highly contagious, but so are low levels of energy. As leaders, our energy levels need to be the highest in the room, on the floor, or on the field. People do what they see, and if they see a high energy leader, they’ll be subconsciously infected. Lastly, businesses and startups are all about momentum, and where does momentum come from? Persistent energy. The most difficult part of rowing those oars is not applying energy but applying it constantly.

The Boat — sacrifice today, win tomorrow.

The boat represents sacrifice. We can have everything we want, just not at the same time. Running a startup will require sacrifice from the entire team. The boat’s resilience is directly related to what the team is willing to sacrifice for the goal — which for any business, is to grow and improve. This often means putting off pleasure and entertainment now for a greater payoff in the future. Pay the price today, so you can pay any price tomorrow. Leadership requires that we sacrifice more than anyone else in our boat. The best leaders I have worked for were the first ones in the office and the last ones out; ensuring that everyone on the team had the tools and resources to perform at their highest level. With great power comes great responsibility. That’s just as true for Spiderman, as it is for a leader in any business.

The Compass — final destination: Elite City… or Turdville?                                                 

The compass represents direction. That starts with who we choose to include in our boat and what our values are. We are the average of the people we surround ourselves with. That statement is just as true in our personal lives, as it is in our work environment. Recruiting the right people and putting them in the right positions is key. Jim Collins called it, “getting the right people, in the right seats, on the right bus.” Even more important is getting the best people on the biggest opportunities — not the biggest problems. A great way to tell if we’re rowing in the right direction is if the personal growth of the people in the organization exceeds the growth in revenue. Lastly, let our hearts be our guide. From the heart flows passion and compassion — if we let those be our guide, we can never be lost.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.