A Critical Doer keeps risk and failure in context with opportunity and success
I came across the following video on YouTube from a TEDx presentation by entrepreneur Tom Hunt. The video takes about 6 minutes…take a look and let’s resume the discussion.
Tom Hunt TEDx Video: Think Less, Fail More
Now that you’re back…what do you think about his premise: think less, fail more? Is it consistent with critical doer philosophy? Mostly…yes.
Critical Doer philosophy is to think deeply and critically through a problem or opportunity to the point where action can begin…and continue thinking while you’re taking decisive action. Tom Hunt’s call to think less and fail more is on the right track but the question for all of us remains…if we should think less, how much is enough?
Something you could misinterpret from Hunt’s presentation is the ultimate goal of any venture. It’s not to fail…the goal is to succeed. We’ve discussed in previous posts the importance of keeping failure in context and highlighted John Maxwell’s thought that failure is a necessary and iterative process that leads to…success.
Here are the key points you should take away from this video:
- The finish is more important than the start. In our culture, we place great importance on who has the idea. Hunt is spot-on with his examples of success through excellence in execution versus just having an idea. Remember, critical doers believe an idea is potential energy…only action ignites the idea to produce kinetic energy.
- It’s all about determining and mitigating risk. We’ve defined risk as the delta between known and unkown, and risk mitigation is the process of converting unknown to known. Failure happens and it’s inevitable…but without this step, failure can be fatal. Fail away, but plan to the best of your ability to live to see another day.
- Time: friend or foe. Time ultimately determines how much risk you need to accept. Failing to properly evaluate the importance of time will let opportunities slip through your fingers, or lead you to make reckless decisions that send solid ideas to the scrap heap to die. Evaluate time and use it effectively to make decisions when they need to be made.
There are great lessons to be learned from Hunt’s presentation but I would encourage you to modify the central theme slightly from “think less” to “think enough.” When you have thought enough, move like lightening! There is no glory in strutting like a peacock touting a great idea with no action and empty pockets to show for it. Think enough, use time wisely, actively manage risk, and plow through the failures to ultimately succeed.
It’s what a critical doer would…do!
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“It’s all about determining and mitigating risk. We’ve defined risk as the delta between known and unkown, and risk mitigation is the process of converting unknown to known.”
Alternatively, one might view risk mitigation along the lines of making the unknown not relevant. If you knew everything — exactly how things would turn out — you would never incur risk. You might incur a cost and sacrifice, but that too would be known.
But, if you didn’t know how things were going to turn out — could you put things in place to make the opponent’s various option just not matter in the big scheme of things?
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