A lot of people react strongly when I question stuff everyone takes for granted. The reason I question these things is because no one else is. It’s easy, tempting even, to look at economics and entrepreneurship as an exact science like mathematics or physics. 1+1 = 2. But entrepreneurship doesn’t work like that.
I referred to this TED-talk by Rodney Mullen earlier on this blog. Mullen explains how, in the skateboard-scene, context creates content. The same is true for entrepreneurship. Don’t let your content be determined by the tools you’re using (or people told you to use) or the way everyone else is using them.
Whenever you stumble across a new tool or theory that’s rapidly spreading in your business, don’t just start using it without asking questions. Don’t create a lean culture because everyone else is doing so, don’t use a business model canvas if you don’t need it, don’t start measuring things just because the competition is doing so. Whenever someone introduces you to a new tool, a good book, a blog,… ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I need this?
- Why do I need this?
- How do I need this?
If the answer to the first question is yes, but you’re not really sure what it will improve in you company, why you need it, you’ve probably said yes because everyone else is using that tool. Don’t slow down your company with all kind of tools simply to please the competition, use them when you need them.
If you’re really certain a tool will improve your work, ask yourself how it works. Do I need everything this tool does, or simply one specific task? Don’t be afraid to alter a theory or tool to your specific needs. If you don’t need everything, don’t use everything.
And last but certainly not least: don’t create a solid model that applies to everyone. Don’t force every employer to use the same tools for different jobs. If you think the marketing department could do better if their output would be measured, don’t force the other departments to do so as well.