There is a segment in the book Reboot, where Jerry Colonna tells about a simple question that quite regularly makes the entrepreneurs he works with start crying. He writes:
My radical, surprising, unprecedented question that always does the trick is quite simple; I ask, “How are you?” But then I follow it up with, “No. Really . . . how are you?”
Have you ever seen a duck in the water?
Above water it seems to be cruising smoothly but underwater its legs are constantly paddling. This sounds pretty much like how daily life feels like for many entrepreneurs out there.
The Start-Up world is built of entrepreneurs and employees. And there is no direct proportion between the Strat-Up’s growth and development and the amount of pressure put on each “side”.
The more the Start-Up progresses, the more “stable” the environment becomes for the employees; better conditions, larger resources and better defined responsibility.
On the entrepreneur side, it looks quite different. The more successful the company becomes, so do the expectations rise and responsibility grows and it is asymmetrical, completely.
I think many workers do not even begin to understand what entrepreneurs go through on normal days, and it is okay, they are not supposed to.
But there are extreme situations. Ones where even the most skilled duck cannot pretend and we are now experiencing such a situation.
Even if you are the most talented entrepreneur, even if you have built the perfect team, even if you worked endless hours together, still there was nothing that could have prepared you to the situation we find ourselves in.
But, a duck is a duck, and habits are hard to kick. And that means most of the entrepreneurs working with you right now are swimming these stormy waters and trying, trying really hard to make your lives as easy as possible, because this is what they do best.
But this is Your time. So, please, do not wait for the duck to come to you.
Reach out to your company’s founders and ask, “How are you?” and they will say: “All’s good!” with a confident-duck-like look, because it is important for them that you feel safe… but you will not stop there… look them in the eyes and ask again: “No, really. How are you?” and wait for their answer.
And then, you please tell them: “We understand that we’re in War-time. We are here! Please, tell us what can we do to help?”
And, no matter what they ask for, do two-three times more.
Because nowadays we are all Ducks.
(Note: I originally wrote this post in Hebrew and it was translated by my amazing sis Ella — who happens to be a pro translator :-))