The 2 Problems & 2 Vices — How Not To Run A Company

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Your company is a product.

What this means is your company is designed to be a space where employees can do their best work.

How this company works is reflected on the founder.

Previously, I never gave much thought on how the company was being run.

I was more preoccupied with money.

While money is important, it’s not the only important thing.

Without a good company, you don’t have the foundations to grow.

This issue came to my attention when I watched this video.

I’ll let you judge for yourself.

I do not know this person, I don’t know if he’s acting for the cameras.

When I sent it to my business partner, she asked me if this was some kind of advertisement.

It’s not. My guess is that it’s supposed to inspire people.

But.

I’ll be using this video as a tool to talk about how I believe founders should behave, and how a company should be run.

In this piece I’ll point out 3 problems with the video and introduce the 3 vices and how they relate to each problem.

The 2 Problems

Not Knowing Your Role

Karim organizes a celebration for his team and school partners

As a founder you should know your role.

Knowing your role starts with knowing yourself.

What are your strengths and weaknesses. Where you can add value.

A choice he has to make:

Should the founder of the company be organizing celebrations or creating value for the customer?

For me, I believe founders should spend time adding value to their customer.

The reason for being in business is for your customer.

With the limited time you have, spending it on frivolous things means that you are betraying your customer. You are betraying your staff.

The next thing that happens when you don’t know your role is that you don’t know how to delegate.

You might say, “Company culture is important! The founder should be involved in organizing celebrations!”

Yes. But not 7 years after the company has been launched. (PMP was founded in 2010, video out on 2017)

Needing the founder to still reaffirm company culture 7 years after it’s founding signals that the staff are not playing an active role in perpetuating company culture.

They are still reliant on the founder for a party.

Not Doing Deep Work

Karim then spends time on a call with a consultant to update him on the details of the celebration.

When we do creative work, which encapsulates most of a founder’s time, we need to be in the right mental state to produce deep work.

From the CommonCog Blog:

Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

Shallow Work: Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

Why deep work?

  1. Can’t be automated away
  2. Reaches the depths of our cognitive ability
  3. Results in a state of flow

In the information age, you are competing with everyone globally.

Whether you are a business owner or an employer, if you do a mediocre job someone will take away your stream of income because they can do it better.

As a founder, if you spend your time doing tasks that are easily delegated, this means no one else in the company is doing any hard tasks that are pushing the company forward.

Even if these hard tasks are delegated, what example are you setting?

“To succeed you have to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of producing- a task that requires deep work”

— Cal Newport, author of the book “Deep Work”

Deep work is an absolute MUST for founders

The 2 Vices

1. Busy But Not Productive
Much activity, little progress.

2. Not Knowing Your Why
The reason for being in business.

The 2 Problems detailed above can be solved by the removal of the 2 Vices.

If you choose productivity over busyness, you would be disciplined to your role.

If you know your Why, you would prioritize your customer.

Summary

I’m sure this man has great qualities, but my judgement of him based on the video might have some merit.

I sensed that something is off when in the entirety of the video, he did not even mention the communities that he is supposed to help.

Here is an excerpt of a blog post he wrote in 2018, 1 year and 5 months after the video was released.

“I was not focused. In fact, I was starting to dabble in a few other ventures, committing myself to multiple communities, and occasionally popping out of the office during the workday to tend to my other obligations that increased in frequency with my new commitments. But, this lack of focus was not just impacting me. Others on my team were influenced by it, too.”

— Karim

The blog post was addressing why his company had such a high turnover rate.

His staff members did not like him.

Overall, the Forbes video is a good reminder to every founder on the importance of mastering the fundamentals of business, service to your customer and working efficiently.

I still have a long way to go but this video makes me encouraged.

The company is a reflection of the founder, the founder is a reflection of the company.

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