Principles For Our Work Together
In order to get the most out of our time together, we should discuss the underlying principles of how we will both behave.
These all share a singular concept – that we will be kind to each other.
Most of these will probably sound like common sense, but I have seen each of them breached over the last decade, by otherwise intelligent people.
Here they are:
Principle 1: People are valuable.
I believe that people matter, and I believe that most evil in the world stems from seeing certain others as “less
than” or “worthless”.
We will treat each other with respect as a default, it does not need to be “earned”.
I see you as being a valuable person, so at times I might be in disagreement with your negative self-talk.
I am on your team, even when you’re not on your own team.
Principle 2: We separate the idea from the person.
During our work your business will change, and at times you will feel flat about what you’re building.
This might come from pivoting, exhaustion, low blood sugar, lack of caffeine, or comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs.
At no point are you allowed to question your own worth – issues with the business model are not issues with you and your character.
Please do not take questions about the business as personal attacks, they’re here to make you stronger.
Principle 3: Good ideas survive competition.
It is dangerous to fall in love with your first idea, even though it seems like the most sensible thing in the moment.
Instead, I encourage you to fall in love with the strongest idea, and the strongest idea is the one that withstands good questions and competition.
By creating competing ideas and business models, the best ones rise to the surface, or elements of several ideas can come together to form something better.
If something has legs, it will become clear through competition.
Principle 4: Evidence beats guesses.
I believe in the wisdom of Richard Feynmann:
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are; if it doesn’t agree with experiments, it’s wrong.”
Our guesses are just guesses until they’re validated in the real world.
Testing is your friend – it can highlight overlooked opportunities and save you a lot of money and stress if it exposes a flaw early on in the process.
Principle 5: We happily admit it when we’re unsure or wrong.
One of the best phrases we can use in our work is “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”.
This is so much better than bluffing.
Let’s be honest about what we don’t know, and instead focus on how we’ll fill the gaps in our knowledge.
Secondly, we believe that “No matter what I think, sales will prove me wrong”.
A good idea without sales isn’t that great, and a stupid idea that gets sales isn’t that stupid.
Principle 6: We are all on the same team.
You will sometimes be working shoulder to shoulder with other entrepreneurs.
Please see this as the tremendous opportunity that it is – the chance to learn, share, collaborate and be inspired by other remarkable people.
Nobody wants to steal your idea.
Even if they did, you’re the best placed person to win in the long run – if not, what are you doing here?
You’re going to have to actively fight against your nerves and insecurities, but you’ll be so glad that you joined a community of compassionate and motivated people.
Principle 7: We say “Can If…”
There’s a natural inclination to be helpful by saying “We can’t because…” and giving a valid reason.
Whilst this might be true, a better way to approach life is to start with “We can if we…”
This tricks your brain into thinking of potential solutions.
When faced with a problem, we’ll work together to establish the circumstances in which it might work, because this allows us to be creative and spot previously hidden opportunities.
By focusing on the conditions for success, we don’t delude ourselves with optimism, but can make better judgements about if the solution is worth the price.
Principle 8: We will look after ourselves.
We’re all adults here, let’s not let formality and run-sheets make ourselves uncomfortable.
When you need a break, a coffee, the bathroom, or to answer a call, please just do it and make yourself comfortable.
We’ll get more done in 45 minutes of everyone tuned in than in 2 hours of us feeling flat or on autopilot.
Principle 9: We assume the best in each other.
If someone ever says something to you that could be interpreted in two ways – I guarantee you that it was meant to be the positive one.
We do not make snide comments, backhanded compliments or veiled insults, so please don’t let your brain read into things that aren’t there.
All these come back to kindness.
If we’re kind to each other, we can work through tough problems and enjoy the process.
I have a great job because I get to work with such good people, hopefully I can be a good person for you.