The Myth of Calling the Shots
One of the reasons I initially got into entrepreneurship was that I wanted to “call the shots.” This is one of the most common reasons people cite for getting into entrepreneurship. Being the boss. Calling the shots. Making the decisions. It’s compelling. And it’s almost completely false. It’s one of the great myths of entrepreneurship (one of the others is ‘setting your own schedule’ – but that’s for another time).
Here’s why it’s a myth: you don’t call the shots – the market calls the shots. While you get to make decisions, those decisions can’t be made in a vacuum. Well they can be, but then you’re in business NFL – Not For Long. I come across so many entrepreneurs who see entrepreneurship as one giant path of constant self-aggrandizement. They see success as following their instinct and trusting in their singular vision. And that’s just plain stupid. Your business needs to serve a need – its needs to connect with what the client wants. And if you make it all about what you want – and your need to make decisions – you’re putting yourself first. It’s not about you – it’s about the client.
Here’s another reason it’s a myth: you should surround yourself with smart people. Better yet smarter people. If you insist on making all the decisions – you’re closing yourself off from the advice and support of these people. Or you’ve surrounded yourself with yes men and/or idiots.
When you think you’ll call the shots you’re subscribing to the view of entrepreneurs being brilliant geniuses ensconced in their ivory towers handing down brilliance from on-high. If you look at really successful entrepreneurs, they are connectors. They form partnerships, they bring resources together, and they listen to clients. What they don’t do is engage in the relentless arrogance of thinking it’s about calling the shots.
In my own experience, discovering this myth was one of the more painful realizations of running my own business. It stinks to realize that it’s not about you and your brilliant ideas. It’s about putting yourself out of the picture and focusing on the client.
Any other myths you’ve seen busted?