How to build a business – Radical Transparency

We had our weekly MT meeting this morning. These meetings, maybe most meetings, tend to focus on the things that need attention, and usually those are not the things that are going well. Many agenda items address issues.

Generally, people tend to focus on the negative. We try to change the world, by adapting it to our strategies, hopes, dreams and plans, rather than adapting those plans to a world that is quite hard to change. We try to change people by focusing on their weak sides, and trying to develop the weaker points with personal development plans, trainings, coaching, rather than focusing on their strong sides, and if necessary, changing their roles, so that the strong points can be utilized.

In this mornings meeting I have brought into practice what you could call radical transparency. For once, without sparing anyone or anything, try to see the things as they really are, and saying out loud what you seen, rather than what you want to see, or what you want to see changed. And yes, that involves recognizing all the weak sides of the business, of the people, and immediately deciding to forget those sides, to stop wasting energy on trying to change people or change the world, but instead looking at what people – and what we as a collective – are good at and directing all our attention to those activities. In our case, we have all the structures, all the knowledge, all the Associates and Partners and almost all the clients that we could wish. We will work with them, and grow that business, rather than continuously developing new propositions, new practices, new business. Of course we could wish for more intrapreneurs that come up with brilliant investment opportunities, but currently we have brilliant professionals, who are perfectly happy to do excellent assignments at clients we can really help. Why try to change?

Remember The Matrix? Neo meets with Morpheus, who offers him a choice of two pills: A blue one that would allow him to continue his life as it is, and a red pill that would allow him to learn the truth about the Matrix. Neo swallows the red pill. Most people are on a blue pill regime and see the world as they want to see it, always too optimistic about budgets, plannings, the ability to influence and about the intentions of others. Call it Alice in Wonderland through pink glasses.

I have started taking red pills, and will keep taking them every morning, together with my multi-vitamins. There are so many positive people to work with and positive things to work on, that we have to be radically honest and transparent about what we really see and think.

At the same time there is the balance to be found between always spending more time on business or work, especially for entrepreneurs. More is not always better. With more focus, less opportunism, we can save a lot of time, and be better rested happier people. We are all in a position to find that balance, because we are autonomous professionals with a drive, a purpose and a passion and we have not put the quality of our lives in the hand of a commercial corporation. Although we like to think in terms of value and long-term (instead of cash and short-term), in case of balance it is better to think on the short-term, instead of “I will have a life when I retire”.

I saw an interesting TED video about this:


2 Responses to How to build a business – Radical Transparency

  1. […] Intrapreneurship: Most professionals – capable talented people who are on the payroll of companies – we speak to are looking for opportunities to develop themselves and their careers, and believe the most important steps they have to take involve development from professional to entrepreneur (or intrapreneur). Wikipedia about intrapreneurship: In 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary acknowledged the popular use of a new word, intrapreneur, to mean “A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation”. Intrapreneurship is now known as the practice of a corporate management style that integrates risk-taking and innovation approaches, as well as the reward and motivational techniques, that are more traditionally thought of as being the province of entrepreneurship. […]

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