Running away from your mistakes is never a good idea because it can have fatal consequences for your business. No matter how difficult the situation may seem, being upfront and honest will positively influence your business ethics and transparency. Honesty can turn mistakes into opportunities.
The importance of being transparent and ethical was one of the first big lessons Fred Cary, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of IdeaPros, learned as a young entrepreneur.
We’ve all been in situations where we thought that hiding something would help us solve it, but the reality is quite the opposite. When we try to hide the truth, we hurt people that we work with and make the solution even further away than it was before.
In one of Fred’s prior companies, they were competing against eBay when they saw an opportunity for a more legitimate auction house that would sell credible things. They were about six months behind eBay and couldn’t catch up. They decided to let go of that project as they initially scoped it and created a pivoted version of what they COULD compete with.
Sometimes your great idea isn’t that great, but there are things around it that ARE.
Fred had a large, very experienced engineering team. Back then, a lot of the technology was needed to pull off things like variable pricing and bidding. Fred’s team decided to go to the market as a software development company. Instead of being an eBay-like provider, they could provide the software that providers like eBay needed.
Seven days before the launch of the software, Fred got the bad news that something in the code wasn’t right. The issue could postpone the launch date by 3 – 6 months.
He started running all over the place trying to figure out what am I going to tell my investors, what story can I possibly give them, so people won’t beat me or hate me?
He had the fortune of having a much older gentleman as a Chief Operating Officer who had come to this little start-up from IBM. The COO sat him down and told him to tell the truth. Fred wrote a long letter to shareholders telling them what happened, why it was unexpected, and his plan to fix it.
Whatever you do in life, personal or business, being ethical should be your #1 goal.
When you have partners, vendors, and customers, you need to be transparent with them. Establish this relationship from a position of truth because when you do that, people that are working with you will not only forgive you, but they can help you fix it.
The only thing that all entrepreneurs have in common is a failure. We have all failed at some point, but what makes one a successful entrepreneur is the ability to learn from mistakes and turn them into opportunities. As an entrepreneur, you will grow your business and lead others. When that happens you need to lead by example.
If you cut corners, if you hide the truth, if you are trying to play the blame game because you don’t want to own up to your own mistakes, then you’re spreading that virus throughout your organization. You’re going to end up with employees that make mistakes and are afraid to come to you about them. They’re going to neglect to do things and hide that from you. If you don’t have an open dialogue and honest communication your organization is going to suffer.
Your ethics are the foundation of the organization you want to build. Just like there is a foundation in a marriage or any other relationship that you have. Before you leave your nine to five job, take a leap of faith in yourself and make sure you have built a solid foundation based on ethics, transparency, and equal opportunities.
IdeaPros is a Super Venture Partner™ who has the resources, experience, and tools to help you succeed at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
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