When People Don’t Deliver

This is a tough one because right off the bat I don’t think I have a great solution for it, but there’s a decent amount of tequila in me so let’s write it up anyway.

I’ve started more projects/startups/companies than I can remember. The majority of them failed and cost me more than they ever brought in. The first few I started I tried to do myself. This was easily the worst idea ever. There’s so much value created while bouncing ideas off of a partner that actively ignoring this and going it alone is a sure fire way to torpedo your project. So I started bringing people on to help out with the various ideas and this is where a whole new crop of issues came up. I got pretty good at articulating an idea. I got good at identifying market trends and forecasting. I got decent at pitching my vision which ultimately resulted in others buying in and wanting to be a part of the projects. These are critical skills to have if you’re going to be a good leader but there’s another skill that’s even more important.

You have to become comfortable with cutting dead weight.

Once you become good at getting people to buy into your vision you have to be able to hold them accountable for actually progressing that vision. I struggled with this like crazy because I want to be a nice person. I don’t want to tell people “no” if there’s a way to tell them “yes.” And this is what I thought being nice was. I thought it was giving chance after chance and eventually making excuses for them. In reality I was hurting us both.

By giving pass after pass I was essentially devaluing the project and everyone’s time who participated in the project. If it was ok that X wasn’t done on time and it pushed out Y and Z then that made it easier to do the same thing next time. There are always unforeseen events and sometimes things just don’t get done but once it becomes a pattern it’s time to cut your losses.

If you really want something to succeed you need people as passionate as possible leading it. Regardless of how hard you try, you can’t get by with people working on your dream as their hobby.

It’s frustrating as hell when people don’t deliver. When people who you think have bought in 100% don’t show up. When you’re the one fighting to keep something alive while partners are slacking off. Find a way to cut out dead weight and seek out people who will put in the work. Developing that team is the most crucial thing I ever did. Be militant about it and you’ll make something awesome.