July 30, 2017 Heart to Market. The Passion and Courage of Entrepreneurs
My dream is that the teams I lead have the passion of entrepreneurs. And I think it’s possible. Look at the tens of thousands of people per year who apply to be on Shark Tank. They all want to see their ideas take hold and become the next Tory Burch or James Park. These are people who put their hearts into the products they want to bring to market. We see it all the time in startups, why not in established companies?
Imagine the woman making gluten-free quinoa and coconut macaroons with cream cheese frosting in her kitchen. Sure, her dream might be to sell them to Kellogg’s someday, but that probably wasn’t on her mind when she started. She has an idea she’s positive will work. Because her heart’s in it, she’s willing to put herself out there, take the praise and the criticism, and keep tweaking the recipe until she gets it right. It’s risky, frustrating and humbling. But she wants so badly for her baby to thrive, she’s willing to lay it all on the line. That takes heart.
Big companies look at startups like this and say, “Why can’t we do that? Why can’t we be more daring?” We blame it on our size or our aversion to risk or the need to move fast. But it really comes down to a lack of passion and courage; our hearts just aren’t in it. We’re afraid to nurture ideas. We want to test a concept and immediately decide if it’s successful or not. That’s not how great things happen. No one knew they needed an iPad until they had one. You can’t always test your way to a breakthrough. Sometimes incubation is more important than invention. The egg is fertilized but the mother bird is committed until the chick is ready to fly. She has the courage and the heart to wait it out because that’s what it takes.
Heart, authenticity, nurturing, courage. These aren’t words we typically use in the halls of a big corporation. But maybe we should. Maybe it’s time we encourage people to be more daring, expand their vision, really put their hearts into their work. Let our teams start small, then when something works, replicate it. Expand it. Believe in it. When their hearts are in it – it can be spectacular.