Quality is Free (But It Isn’t Easy)

In Quality is Free, Philip Crosby wrote “Make a commitment to a standard, communicate it, recognize performance, and then recycle.”

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You have choices to make:

Will you make a commitment? Or will you just pretend to?

Will you set a high standard? Or will you settle?

Will you have the courage to communicate it? Or will you put it on a shelf and hope no one holds you accountable?

Will you have the confidence to recognize performance? Or will you disengage, let success go unheralded and/or allow your direct reports to remain unaccountable?

Quality is free, but it isn’t easy. Will you do the work?

Entrepreneurship: Are You Willing to Work This Hard?

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” —Warren Tracy

It’s Saturday night. Your significant other is sitting on the couch next to you watching Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. You are supposed to be watching, too. And you are, sort of. roman-holiday

But you’re an entrepreneur, so you’re also reading Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup. And thinking about your lean canvas. And working on the presentation you’re doing Monday for a potential investor. Everyone likes Prezi, right?

If that’s you, you’re not alone. I’m doing the work, too—enjoying the present and betting on a brighter future.

“Success isn’t measured by money or power or social rank. Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace.” —Mike Ditka

The Startup Owner’s Manual—Part 8—The Deadly Sin of Emphasizing Execution

Emphasizing Execution is a deadly sin? Seriously? One of my favorite business books of all time is Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Nevertheless, in Steve Blank and Bob Dorf’s The Startup Owner’s Manualthe authors assert that the 3rd deadly sin is “Emphasis on Execution Instead of Hypotheses, Testing, Learning, and Iteration” (11).

And there it is again—a startup is not a small version of a big company. In a big company, execution is (almost) everything. In a startup, you are trying to figure out what to execute, so you must develop hypotheses, test them, learn from your tests, and iterate or pivot based on what you’ve learned.

I have a friend who is starting a very promising business (I’ll tell you more about it soon). He’s got a great concept, and it looks like he is going to be able to help a lot of people. But what he has now is a hypothesis, which he is testing, and he is learning/growing as he goes. Instead of building a “go-to-market” solution before introducing it to the world, he is testing, talking to potential customers, finding out what they really want, what they really need, and what they would be willing to pay for. Based on the conversations he is having, the tests he is performing, he is tweaking his offering, dialing it in.

If you’re an entrepreneur, that’s your job. “If you build it, they will come,” makes an awesome movie but it’s a terrible startup strategy. Emphasizing execution in the real world usually looks like building a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field, then losing your farm.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams