Is Passion Essential to Being a Founder? It Can Harm Your Decision-Making.
Updated: Oct 21
One reads a lot of start-up literature and interviews, and they almost all talk a lot about ‘passion’. I am not sure either is very useful or true unless you are one of that 1% who genuinely has an idea that will change the world. Most of us start businesses because we are not very good at taking orders, and we also think we see an opportunity to do something a little better than the competition. There are very few truly original ideas, and business success is generally about doing things just a little better than the others.
I think enthusiasm and competitiveness are better words for what motivates us, which can be contagious for our teams. Enthusiasm is infectious, but unlike passion or vision, it does not carry the risk of blindness to the market or new ideas. It’s also true that when it comes to growing and managing a business, being dispassionate can be one of the most important traits a Founder can have. It can improve your decision-making.
I spent ten years in the stockbroking business, and one of our mantras was not to fall in love with yesterday’s decision. It was the fastest way to lose a shedload more money. In business, one must regularly ask oneself, ‘Based upon what I know now, would I still make the same decision today that I made in the past?’
Being open to revising your view of the world based on new information, financial data, or market feedback is essential to a Founder CEO’s toolkit, which is ignored at your peril. Too much passion and you quickly ignore feedback and shape it into the justification of your present strategy. By being slightly distanced from the day-to-day frontline, you should be open to seeing how these little variations from expectations may create an alternative picture of reality to your current strategy, something a line manager can easily miss. A key role of an external advisor or mentor is Helping you take a dispassionate view of your business and strategies. It can really improve your decision-making. Contact me if you want to understand more about my services as a business advisor or mentor.