No one sets out to fail. Most entrepreneurial people begin with plenty of ambition, good intentions, and generally pretty decent ideas. And yet the larger percentages of entrepreneurial ventures don't get very far. Some fall apart at the beginning and others may even gain a little customer traction and revenue before hitting the wall.

It's easy to blame the failures on the market, scant resources, or the public just not being ready for what you have to offer. But the truth lies within you. It's your fault. You lacked the one thing necessary for any venture to be incredibly successful... Objectivity.

You don't have to be the entrepreneur to mess things up. Any member of the management team, be it the head of operations, finance, sales, or marketing can lead the team down the path to destruction. All they have to do is to get so caught up in their vision, idea, or emotions that they lose their ability not to stay objective.

Don't let bias derail your incredible opportunity for success. Here is how to get become more objective when...

...you are emotionally involved.

Passion is an important ingredient for success. It's also the easiest to come by for entrepreneurial folk and can easily cloud their senses. People love to love. When they are in love with an idea, they can get so optimistic that they lose sight of all that can go wrong with their vision. When passion is strong, you need to step away and challenge every belief. Make a list of all the reasons your ideas won't work. Then you can eliminate the problems that were hidden by your blind love.

...you are angry.

Anger is the negative side of passion and can be all consuming. It rarely adds to productivity and eats time and energy in debilitating ways. All that is reason enough to restrain anger, but it also forces decisions to be made for the wrong reasons. When you feel the negative fire burning, take a break and re-center yourself by reviewing your blessings. Meditation also works. True objectivity only occurs when inner peace is strong.

...you are arrogant.

You need a healthy ego to wade into the abyss and lead people through the unknown. But power is seductive and can get you to think you really are all that and a bag of chips. Arrogance blocks all 360-degree insight, which is a critical requirement for success. Most arrogant people will eventually fail and there will be few that have enough respect from others to help them rebuild. Every morning, think about what it's like for the newest and/or least paid person to work for you. Ask yourself, honestly, if you would want to work for someone like yourself.

...you are frightened.

A little fear is healthy and can be good for motivation. Looking over your shoulder can keep you moving at a good pace and help you be wary of competition. But paranoia will cause lapses in judgment and motivate you to move too fast too soon. Rather than giving in to the fear, detail out the worst case scenarios so you can develop short fixes that keep you on track. Then when your nightmare comes true, you'll relax and solve the situation calmly and with perspective.

...you are failing.

The quickest way to lose your objectivity is to panic. As my father always likes to say: When you are up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember that your primary objective was to drain the swamp." It seems counter intuitive, but the best way to remain objective is to take a break from the action, even a short one. This is the time when you can't go into autopilot until after you have thought about the consequences of your actions. Grab your most trusted teammates and spend some time brainstorming while vetting all the possible options. You may still fail, but you'll go down knowing you did everything possible.

...you are gaining success.

The most insipid deterrent to incredible success is amazing success. A little win is great, but it can just as easily lead you mistakenly down the wrong path. I once had an idea that I executed successfully to the tune of $500,000. I wrongly assumed it was replicable and spent the next 7 years foolishly trying to replicate it, only to find out it was an anomaly. Treat your success as stepping stones crossing a fast moving stream. Don't assume that the stability of the stone upon which you are standing insures the stability of the stones ahead. One tippy stone can send you into the brink. Use each success as a reason to re-evaluate the entire plan as thoroughly as if it were a failure.

Published on: Jan 18, 2016
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