The danger of statements
We all get very upset when we order manti or a spaghetti or whatever food and what is served looks and tastes bad. Paying hurts and you don’t want to come back. Naturally, you will tell all your friends this restaurant is useless. You don’t tell the chef, you just create bad advertising.
Criticism and especially confronting people with it, is rather not done. As a management style, it is called “confront brutal facts”. I used this management style a lot in the last company I run in Belgium. It killed gossip and the company becomes more professional thus a better result can be celebrated. I learned, the hard way, that this management style is not much appreciated in our region. We prefer to think differently compared to what we say. So at the end, you never know where you stand.
When I look at the different stakeholders in the startup scene I see a lot of make believe, but in the end, nothing happens, contrary to the gossip that increases exponentially. I get very upset when I hear the startups explaining to me what the so-called mentors or investors are saying. I wished there would be more confront brutal facts and less make-believe. Even in investments, I see startups being invested, where the business model is not even clear, but they pretend it will be the big next one, investing in student platforms, probably based on the potential advertising income. Of course, I hope I am totally wrong as I want everybody to be successful. Future will tell, but I have seen too many of them fail in the go-to-market and make money. We need a more professional approach in the market, otherwise, we will keep saying we are the next Silicon Valley after Holland has already done it, and we keep dreaming.
When you claim we need to be more professional it might, of course, trigger reactions. The one who shouts you are all crazy is assumed to be the one who is not crazy :-). But that is the risk you take when you use “confront brutal facts” as a management tool. Nothing comes without bruises, and believe me, they all heal. So hello to the next professionals who come in the game and goodbye to the opportunists, lacking even ethical business sense. Hello to those who see a positive impact more important than fast personal wins. Hello to all the positivos. I am one of them although I already hear those whispering in my ears I am negative. There is a reason why I sing Happy in the morning. Each day is a gift to build further.
I assume you don’t know Robyn. I didn’t either. Calum Scott made one of her songs very popular, “Dancing on my own”. Her bio reads like a movie story, starting at the age of 5. She is Swedish and amazing. It kind of reflects nicely the life of artists, you make your choices and you assume, despite what others think. This week I am in Erbil, Irak, together with the amazing team of Re:coded, giving a bootcamp of 5 days. It is good to feel the wet ground under your feet, the cold. It changes your view, your mission. Enjoy the song here.