6 Ways to Be UnstoppableBy Maureen Electa Monte on August 15th, 2016 /
Entrepreneurs are the most energized and exciting people in the world. However, many entrepreneurs are so eager to launch that they don’t build a strong human foundation for success. Hint: the human problem is the hard problem. As a result, mistakes are made. Plans, products and partners become road kill. To prevent this crisis, I encourage entrepreneurs to follow a simple (but not easy) three-step process: 1) Define holistic success, 2) Identify and leverage untapped talent on the team, and 3) Align that talent with success. This is how best to reach: Destination Unstoppable!
Destination Unstoppable Is a Feeling
To be clear, Destination Unstoppable is not a place; it is a shared state of mind. It is a heightened energy derived from a particular group that deeply understands and believes in how good they are. It’s a team firing on all cylinders. Like a flywheel, it propels organizations to success when they’ve laid the proper groundwork for it. Why does this matter? All the energy in the world won’t compensate for individuals and teams that do not understand their strengths. Misdirected energy is a liability, not an asset. An example would be a baseball pitcher who can throw the ball at 100 mph – but can’t hit the strike zone. Hitting the target is more important than a wild and speedy miss.
Define Holistic Success
“What does success look like?” Not just the “what” you will do, but the “how” and the “why.” Don’t forget the human side of business such as building well-rounded teams and offering a superb client experience. When I helped the Cranbrook boys varsity hockey team win the state championship in 2015 we built a team success statement that began with “Winning the state championship” and ended with “We refuse to let anyone fail.” Build your holistic success statement and let it be a motivating compass.
Start with Strength
Operating from a position of strength is always advisable. When I ask people if they know their strengths, I often receive a blank stare. Most people respond with skills or subject matter expertise, which is the wrong answer. There are two assessments that I leverage to help individuals and teams define success: identify untapped talent on the team (strengths) and align those strengths with success of the team. Let’s dig into them.
The Clifton StrengthsFinder measures patterns of excellence in how you think to solve problems, execute tasks, build relationships and influence others. Consider how important these characteristics are to entrepreneurs. Avoid the mistake of selecting people just like you. For example, if you think about the future, and I think about the past, together we cover the horizon. There is power in strengths diversity. The StrengthsFinder also helps you describe your unique value proposition with confidence and clarity. Make it a team journey to multiply the benefits. There is a detailed roadmap in my book, “Destination Unstoppable: The Journey of No Teammate Left Behind,” which describes exactly how I used this process to help the Cranbrook hockey team win the state championship. You can do it, too.
Gallup studied the best entrepreneurs in the world, and identified 10 characteristics that a startup must do well in order to: a) create a product that people want to buy, and b) grow a business. The ten characteristics include: Selling, Knowledge, Confidence, Determination, Disruptor, Relationship, Independence, Risk, Delegating and Profitability. Very few individuals do all ten well, so the benefit of the tool is to build a well-rounded startup team. Why? There is not a single Fortune 500 company that is run by one person.
I’ve used both tools to coach hundreds of entrepreneurs and teams to success, and to grow my own business. I seek partnerships to compensate for what I don’t do well. I am a creative thinker with an eye for human talent that never gives up (but I know when to pivot) yet I can’t sell myself for beans. Knowing my strengths helps me make better decisions by always operating in my sweet spot, and leveraging the sweet spots of others.
Shakespeare Was Right
Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” To aid in that quest, assess your strengths and your entrepreneurial talents. Build a well-rounded team made up of diverse ninjas. Know what success looks like and align behind it. Describe your value proposition with confidence, clarity and precision. Soon you’ll find yourself racing towards Destination Unstoppable, just like the Cranbrook hockey team did. See you there!