The Fear of Bureaucracy

Do you find it difficult to manage your startup’s success? Is your company steeped in chaos when a new product is launched? Are you struggling to keep your business focused on its vision? Do you need a solution?

The answer is simple management or more specifically better management.

To be honest with you each time I launched a new company, a new product or took on a new project, my mindset defaulted to execution. I was hyper-focused on making an impact and not taking the time to understand how to manage.

Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startup, shares:

“An a result many entrepreneurs take a “just do it” attitude, avoiding all forms of management, process, and discipline. Unfortunately, this approach leads to chaos more often than it does success.”

Why, because entrepreneurs fear that management breeds bureaucracy which eventually stifles creativity. That is what I thought about management, so I either avoided the conversation or gave it minimum attention. Unfortunately, my results were typically the same -- chaos.

In order, for you to successfully navigate the traitorous waters of entrepreneurship, you will need managerial discipline. By investing energy in a coherent management paradigm, you start cultivating the mindset of preventing the failures brought on by chaos, through what Eric Reis calls validated learning.

Reis continues to share:

“It can give entrepreneurs clear guidance on how to make the many trade-offs decisions they face: whether and when to invest in process; formulating, planning, and creating infrastructure; when to go it alone and when to partner; when to respond to feedback and when to stick with vision; and how and when to invest in scaling the business. Most of all, it must allow entrepreneurs to make testable predictions.”

That is a critical argument, without the guidance of validated learning startups fall victim to their tremendous vision and build products based on assumptions and create products that no one will pay for.

Instead of relying on assumptions, place your trust in the feedback loop that nourishes the constant adjustments to your product. Reis continues to state that the product is the result of pivots based on the Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop:

”I call that a startup’s vision. To achieve that vision, startups employ a strategy, which includes a business model, a product road maps, a point of view about partners and competitors, and ideas about who the customer will be. The product is the result of this strategy.”

So a startup is not just one activity, it’s a portfolio of activities:

  1. Acquiring new customers
  2. Serving current customers
  3. Pivoting to improve the product
  4. Listening to customer feedback
  5. Marketing the product
  6. Building a team focused on results

A startup is a complex organism which is always fighting to balance the portfolio of activities so that it can become profitable. So the startup's success squarely sits on your ability to manage, or more specifically on your capacity to plan adequately or and execute properly.