Always be listening as an entrepreneur
Joshua Davidson wrote this article
Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook, was recently asked the following question, “What’s the number one thing you look for in someone who can scale with a company?“.
Her response was simple, calculated, effective, but most importantly of all, perhaps the best piece of advice that you could ever give to anyone, especially to an entrepreneur. What did she say?
“Someone who takes feedback well. Because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”
This is huge.
This is perhaps one of, if not the most critical pieces of advice you could ever provide someone, especially for an entrepreneur.
Feedback is what will make or break you.
You see, for most of the entrepreneurs who are joining the game, they are doing so for one reason and for one reason only.
They feel invincible.
They believe they were put here with a purpose.
This is a great asset to have.
Entrepreneurs should leverage their egos as a strength, to give them the extra push, that extra amount of will power to allow them to jump through hurdles and tackle any obstacle in their way.
However, ego, as Ryan Holiday has now famously said, is also the enemy. (Highly recommend his latest book, by the way)
The weird thing about this emotion, this state of mind, that most entrepreneurs have, is that they feel so invincible, figuratively immortal, that they know better than anyone else and therefore do not need anyone else’s opinion.
They only hire “yes” people.
They do not ask for help.
They do not research or continue to try to grow their craft.
They are know-it-alls (queue the Mr. Know-It-All from Young the Giant).
This is such a bad trait to have, especially as an entrepreneur.
You see, we as entrepreneurs, we do not “know-it-all“.
In fact, some of the greatest entrepreneurs that I have personally met, are some of the most humble by the fact that they know they are the dumbest in the room.
They reach out for help.
They ask their customers for feedback.
They seek out mentors.
They read, they research, they listen, they look for additional knowledge and advice.
For context, here is how we function at Chop Dawg.
The purpose of this call?
I want to hear from them how things are going.
Are we meeting expectations?
Are we doing anything poorly?
How can we improve?
What has been our biggest strength for them?
How about our biggest weakness?
How have our communications been?
This isn’t the only meeting we have with our clients. We have weekly meetings with almost every active client. They have all of our personal cell phones, email addresses. We’re incredibly accessible (after-all, customer service triumphs over everything else). However, these one-on-ones are critical.
1) It’s the chance for our clients to speak to the individual running the ship, asking for them to open up and be upfront.
2) It’s the chance if any problems are brewing, to correct it well before it ever becomes a big problem.
3) Most importantly of all, it’s a way for us to learn from our clients, the ones who are paying us and keep our lights on, what we do great at (which we do love hearing) but as well, where we need to improve and do a better job for them.
Feedback is critical to our success.
It’s how we have grown every single year we have been in business.
It’s how we have already made 2016 into our best year to date, with a little under a month as I write this blog post still to go.
It’s how we already know 2017 will be even bigger than 2016.
We learn, we ask for help, we ask for advice, and then we listen. We don’t respond back, we don’t try to justify our logic, we just listen. We hear from different perspectives what we can do to be better.
All entrepreneurs should be the same.
You don’t need to just ask your customers either.
Ask your fans on social media.
Ask your team members, your employees, your vendors.
Be self-aware, and ask yourself, deep down.
We as entrepreneurs need to embrace feedback, because the more feedback we receive, the closer we are to the definition of success, the closer we can get to being at our fullest potentials.