This post was originally written for "The Handbook" of Bunny Inc. We are also sharing it publicly as it applies to many companies that are starting to scale fast.
Awareness of our competitive advantages is important. Awareness of our weaknesses is even more important. We should keep them in mind and try to reduce their impact as much a possible. This is a list of weaknesses that we are likely to have both as individuals and as a team, along with ideas on how to overcome them.
1. Lack of experience
Most of us are doing things that we have never done before, or we’ve done them, but on a smaller scale. As you tackle new challenges, you must avoid making mistakes that others have made before. Your mistakes should be unique. That's how you know you’re pushing the envelope and innovating. Fortunately, we can compensate for this lack of experience by seeking the advice of experienced mentors.
2. Lack of discipline
Motivation and inspiration help us start things. Discipline helps us complete them. Discipline is self-control. It’s an "orderly pattern of behavior." You are undisciplined if you don’t constantly follow predictable patterns. Need help? Two techniques we like are Pomodoro and Get Things Done.
Bureaucracy kills. It makes you slow. Painfully slow. Bureaucracy can be measured by the number of people you depend on in order to achieve a goal. Are you working on a project that depends on more than five people, including you? It's very likely you're experiencing bureaucracy. Work in small teams as much as you can. If you are responsible for company-wide or area-wide standards, don’t ask people to get your approval on everything. Instead, write down standards and ask others to follow them. Having lean, clear, and well-documented processes also avoids bureaucracy.
“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings.” ― Dave Barry. If you are in a meeting where you are being told something, but you’re not providing a significant amount of feedback, you’re wasting your time. Ask the organizer to send a written update instead, probably via Confluence. Most humans can read faster than they can listen. Also, written conversations don’t require all participants to be available at the same time.
5. Making decisions without supporting data
"If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” - H. James Harrington. As emotional beings, it’s easy to make decisions based on anecdotal information, but that’s usually a fallacy. For example, in a marketplace buyers are 17 times less likely to report it bugs than sellers! If we were to pay the same attention to both sellers and buyers, we would forget about the buyers. You should always make decisions based on structured quantitative and qualitative data.
6. Prioritizing without considering ROI
ROI = Return on Investment. Life is too short to experiment with all of the ideas we have. The Pareto Principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Unless you prioritize based on ROI, you’ll find yourself investing time in many things that won’t have a significant positive effect. ROI is usually measured in terms of money, but it could also be measured in happiness, impact, etc. As long as you use the same baseline to compare the ROI all of your efforts, you’re fine.
7. Lack of alignment
One single brain is always aligned with itself. When two brains work together, they need to invest time on alignment and as our team grows, we'll need to invest more and more time making sure we are aligned. This is not easy. You must always make sure that your key performance indicators (KPIs) and objective key results (OKRs) are aligned with those of your area, and that those of your area are aligned with the ones of the company. If you don’t find obvious connections, you’re being a weak link.
8. Not getting out of our comfort zone
"You can't expect to achieve extraordinary goals by living an ordinary life” - Jun Loayza. We cannot expect to grow if we are too afraid or unwilling to change and face challenges. You know you’re not getting out of your comfort zone if you’re not scared. Everything you desire is always just outside our comfort zone. Get out of it. Be afraid.
9. Not delegating
You can’t do everything yourself. The only way you’ll be able to maximize your impact in life is by building teams and delegating to them. Find people with entrepreneurial mindsets. Bring them to your team or join them. If you can’t trust someone else to do things and accept that he or she will do things differently, you’re being weak. Learning to delegate is a major challenge for many, but it’s the only we’ll achieve success.
10. Delegating tasks, instead of responsibilities
When you delegate a task, you’re setting limits on the imagination of others. When delegating, delegate a goal or responsibility. Come up with a PI that will help the other person determine if he or she reached the desired goal. Always start with the “why," brainstorm and suggest ideas for the “how," and let the others come up with the “what."