Startups: How To Accomplish The Impossible

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When you are facing an impossible task, you need to step back and look at the reason for the perceived impossibility of the task. What makes the  impossible and why?.

There are instances when you are truly in an impossible situation and that is often defined by externalities outside of your control. What I’m talking about here is a task that for anyone else seems impossible except for you.  Building a company from zero to a successful enterprise is an impossible task for most people. If you are in a startup you already took the plunge into impossible tasks. This post is about how to make the next jump and continue to grow your company. First of all, impossible is a premature acceptance of failure. It is a way to give in to the pressure before giving it your best. This perception is fueled by foggy emotions, unrealistic vision and  a lack of a solid process. What you need to achieve is clarity and then you can truly decide whether the task is impossible or not.

Here are some tips to help you achieve the impossible:

Fully trust your intuition.

Let your intuition guide you. Find your own way of getting things done and forget folk stories about how a startup should work or how your company should be built. Do it your way and convince others to follow you.  Trust yourself and have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Gather your top level goals

Focus. This will help you narrow down the tasks to the essential. When you’re working at a high pace and with a competent team, you should keep an eye on the high level items and not get sucked into the details too often. Most likely, the solutions that you’re dreaming up on paper will change once you talk to your team. They will help you find the best and most efficient one.

Take the time to plan

Plan. I don’t mean to state the obvious. What I’m referring to is a real honest-to-God plan. Step back and look at the big picture and break it down into doable chunks. Don’t be shy about pushing the envelop with regards to what can be done. A doable chunk should push your team to their limit without knocking them over the edge. Nothing too extravagant or too simple.

Take 30 minutes every day to plan your day and review your progress. Separate the how from the when. Figure out what are you going to tackle and schedule it. Be very discipline about your planning time and follow your plan.

Don’t deviate from your plan, for anyone.

Discipline. The process is sacred. Be disciplined and don’t deviate from your established process and plan for anyone. Not your boss, not your customers. This sounds extreme but it is the best way to ensure a proper delivery. A process that is too flexible is worthless and a plan that is too complex is demoralizing. The only time you should make an exception is if the vision has changed, at which point you are starting basically from zero and be prepared for that because it might happen, specially at a startup.

Remove the noise

Relax. Be proactive and remove all possible clutter from your mind and physical environment. Clear your schedule and do not participate in activities that do not contribute to your success. When you catch yourself drifting or day-dreaming, don’t fight it. Simply take a break. Then go back to your desk and refocus.

Finally, get it done

Just do it. Develop a system through which you can visualize your progress. Use a list or a check-in meeting to ensure you are moving forward. This system should be tangible to you and to your team. There is no better motivator than getting things done.

Feel free to share your own home-grown tips on process at a startup in the comments. Would love to hear them!