In a recent Tweet I said that Ego is the enemy to small business growth.
And yes we have all fallen prey to this trap…
Thinking we are right and everyone else is wrong. Thinking we are the only person who can do it right. Or that old chestnut ‘It’s quicker to do it myself’.
The Ego doesn’t value anyone else’s input and even less wants to pay for it.
Working through the Ego like this can be brilliant in the start up phase of a business – where intensity and sheer focus/force of energy is needed to get a business off the ground.
The problem happens when the business gets to the point where it becomes constricted by the amount that one person is able to control or do.
I remember hitting this block in the early years of Red Letter Days. I’d got the business to £1million T/O by sheer determination and force of will – assisted by an obedient team of ‘Yes Men’, who knew better than to question me – and I was literally controlling every part of the process. It was only when I took the advice of my advisors/mentors and started to build a team of experienced people around me and really encouraged them to run with their area of the business that everything started to take off. We respected everyone’s value, paid generous salaries and provided ample budgets to facilitate growth. Everyone really loved working there during that phase (1996 to 2001) and it was a great, fun, loyal team.
Of course, giving away control like this does mean that you also have to have a great Finance Director/Chief Operating Officer plus the reporting systems to ensure the business is not going off the rails. And yes it does involve risk!
But I would far prefer to have experienced the excitement of growth from £1million to £18million – with all the money, awards and fame that brought (another lovely ego massage! No, we never quite get rid of it) – to have played it safe and stayed small.
This is also the joy of the latest project I am involved in – ‘The Big Om’ mass sound healing experience at Wembley Arena on 12.12.12.
I know nothing about the music industry! But this is proving to be a huge advantage as we are gathering together a brilliant team of amazingly talented high energy people who we are encouraging like mad to help us make the vision happen. It’s magical and hugely exciting to see a project unfold in this way.
Having experienced both extremes, I’d choose ‘Inspire and Collaborate’ over ‘Command and Control’ any day.