Great potential — and a company — is a terrible thing to waste

Know any founders who:

  1. Had a terrific idea with which they achieved initial success, but haven’t been able to get beyond that or duplicate it?
  2. Act out their underlying anxiety at being possibly a “one trick pony” in visionary’s clothing by being frenetic, unfocused, “name dropping” and embellishing the heck out of their success to try to attract more business and investors?
  3. Keep changing their mind on what the company should focus on so that their people never know what to do from week to week?
  4. Take out their anxieties and fear of failing or being discovered as a first act with no second act to follow by continually agitating, spinning and “throwing their people under the bus?”
  5. Instead of setting highly talented people in their organization up to succeed, set them up to fail?
  6. Often look for outside saviors/rescuers instead of utilizing the untapped skills and talents of their now dispirited people?
  7. Have become lousy listeners?
  8. Inwardly do not mean to hurt or upset anyone and do not take delight in doing so, but whose fear of failure is ever present and drives them to act poorly?

If so, what can such a founder do? And what if that founder is you?

  1. First, don’t feel panicked or ashamed if you don’t have a new great idea.
  2. Sit down with your great inside people (and stop looking to and paying outsiders that you are impressed with to rescue you).
  3. With your top people, identify the key stakeholders who buy your products and services, who have invested in your company AND all the people in your company that do the work to build, service, market and sell your products and services.
  4. Put yourselves in all your stakeholder’s shoes and articulate from their point of view what would dramatically exceed their expectations with regard to the quality/price/value of your products and services (for your customers and clients); generate a great ROI either near term or longer term with an explanation of the latter (for your investors); be the best work experience of their careers (for your employees).
  5. Generate a vision (i.e. way beyond a mere extension of what you’re already doing) of something extraordinary and disruptive and then a doable strategy with the actions for fulfilling it that will enthuse, exceed the expectations and spontaneously enroll all your stakeholders.
  6. If you have trouble staying focused on a single task and following through on it; if you keep jumping around from one interesting thing to the next; if you keep interrupting people rather than hearing them out and if instead of being deliberate in your communication and actions you’re all over the place, you might want to consider being evaluated for ADHD by your doctor or a psychiatrist. You needn’t be ashamed if this sounds like you, because you’ll be in the company of many other successful people, who became even more successful once they had this checked out and treated if it was present.
  7. If all else fails, get a CEO or COO to manage you and the rest of your company before you manage to run the company into the ground.

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