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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Freaking Out is Not a Management Style

Certainty defines the likelihood something major will occur in the life of your startup.  How the issues are handled will define you in your role as the CEO of the company.  Experiences usually influence the way new issues are addressed, but care and thoughtfulness are always important to resolution of what faces the company.

People have different personalities.  Some are thoughtful by nature and others tend to be more spontaneous.  Reactions to issues run a wide range.  Everyone has their own way to address problems and resolve them.  However, when you are in charge, the team expects more in the way of leadership and control.  They will follow your lead and be calmer if you are and they will panic if you do. 

You want your team to react to issues without panicking.  For this reason alone, it is in your best interest to learn to be more reserved and calm in approaching problems.  It may be harder than you can ever imagine.  For example, what if you get a call indicating you just lost 60% of your cash reserves and will not have resources to pay the staff.  Suppose you receive a lawsuit describing you as the primary person being attacked.  Remember, that being the diplomat is part of your job and being calm and reserved is a trait you may do well to learn. 

In short, “Freaking out is not a management style.”  Next time you find a situation that seems to make you so angry, you want to hurt someone.  Try a few of these ideas:

 Stop and reflect: Walk away from the building for a while.  Get a cup of coffee and sit down alone.  Reflect on what the action was that made you angry.  Determine if it is really so bad and consider the most optimal way to handle the problem.  It also may help to go do some physical activity and think about the issues.

Generate ideas:  Nearly every problem has a solution.  Thinking of possible ways to resolve the issues allows you to put things in prospective.  Try to visualize the solutions and extent of work required to resolve the situation.  The more solutions you can develop, the more you have to work with to solve the problem.

Seek advice:  Talking the problem over with your advisors or a trusted board member will help you no longer be alone.  The more help you can find the better you will be able to manage the problem.  At least, you will have time to calm down and consider the most rational approaches.

Try the solutions:  Being calm and rational in your approach will allow you to execute the solution(s) or approaches you derived.  You will be able to monitor the progress or engage in a discussion in a way that may better yield results. 

Repeat the steps above needed.  You may need several attempts to reach a final resolution.  In some cases, it may take a very long time.  Just put thing in prospective.  Do not lose focus on your company goals and continue to build.  Your best offense is a strong defense and a strong company.