Surprisingly, the disciplines that land up determining whether entrepreneurs Scale or fail are not (at root) business disciplines. Mostly, they are the personal disciplines that constitute ‘The Inner Game of 10X Entrepreneurs’.
In the previous post, we described the 8 business disciplines of 10X Entrepreneurs. They are not rocket science but doing them requires resolute commitment in the face of the daily pressures that confront scale up leaders. The good news is that they are observable and learnable. In this post, we focus on the 4 personal disciplines of 10X Entrepreneurs™.
THE REAL SCALE UP CHALLENGE
There comes a point in Formula 1 racing where the constraint is not the precision-engineered car, but the one driving it. If the driver’s skills, powers of concentration, judgment and big match temperament aren’t expanding, more horsepower and better suspension won’t matter.
Ditto in Scaling Up. The disciplines that land up determining whether entrepreneurs Scale or fail are not (at root) business disciplines. The business disciplines are not actually all that hard.
It is true that most great founders must still learn the specific skills and tools required to be great at Scaling Up. Scaling Up must be a conjoint evolution of the founders, the team, and the business, all at the same time and in that order. But great founding teams are smart, work hard, and learn fast. So learning these new disciplines and tools is not in itself the challenge.
What is tough about transitioning from start-up leadership to Scale Up leadership is that it amounts to re-inventing yourself as a business leader (your mindset, daily activities, knowledge, skills, tools and relationships) virtually overnight (compared to the time it takes to ‘produce an executive leader’ in the corporate world), inside a tornado.
To aggravate matters, Founders generally don’t know any of this. So the fate of the business is fundamentally tied to the fate of the Founders. If the Founders don’t ‘scale themselves’, they won’t scale their teams, and then the business won’t scale either. Either these 3 entities evolve together, or they get stuck and die together. That’s why the #1 law of Scaling Up for founders is this: Scale Thyself.
THE INNER GAME
Achieving this self-re-invention requires realistic awareness of and commitment to the project, and herculean grit. And because it is so challenging, it also requires the 4 disciplines that constitute ‘The Inner Game of 10X Entrepreneurs’.
10X-e’s know that being too thinly spread is the most common trap for scale up leaders, and the single biggest culprit of Scale Up Leaders not scaling themselves. Lack of focus guarantees lack of progress under normal circumstances. With the challenges of Scaling Up, its deadly. 10X-e’s guard their focus militantly.
- Bring your A-Game:
10X-e’s know petty ego plays and an unhealthy lifestyle will destroy their greatest asset: their ability to operate at their highest point of contribution every day. 10X-e’s play to their strengths, stay sharp, and maintain their mojo.
- Scale Thyself
10X-e’s know the #1 law of Scaling Up is Scale Thyself. They are committed to rapid self-reinvention to remain great leaders in a relentlessly changing organisation. So they focus on building the knowledge and skills the business of the future needs, systematically and fast. 10X-e’s are realistic about their abilities and limitations, read avidly, learn what’s required of them, and use accelerated learning tools to grow.
- Choose success:
10X-e’s realise you can’t have everything and, because you can’t, you want to avoid going for it. Entrepreneurs are constantly faced with classic dilemma’s like to be ‘rich or king’, and to stay ‘in charge or in flow’. 10X-e’s avoid the trap of not choosing, and winding up getting ‘none of the above’ (the default outcome associated with trying to have it all). They ‘get real’ with themselves (e.g. do I want a smaller piece of a really big pie, or 100% of a tiny pie?), prioritise, make good choices, and learn to be content with them.
That, in a nutshell, is the Science of Scaling Up. We’ll be unpacking these concepts and disciplines over the coming weeks.
You now have the 12 core disciplines of 10X Entrepreneurs™. They are not rocket science; they’re just hard to apply in the tornado of a Scale Up, while learning a lot of it for the first time.
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And remember the #1 law of Scaling Up: Scale Thyself.
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