Cool, calm, detached neutrality… (Or, how to get things done) - Russ Taplin

With the ability to remain calm, comes a greater chance of success. That applies to whatever you’re doing, but it’s never more important than when you are starting or running a business. End of. Short blog.

Biology gets in our way

Wait… there’s more. How often have you found yourself trying to get something done, but all of a sudden that simple goal gets complicated? The adrenaline is triggered, Cortisol kicks in and you’ve got a shot of Glucose to the system too – now you don’t stand a chance of being able to make a rational decision, other than fight or flight. You end up battling multiple stakeholders, and you just can’t get anything to go anywhere.

Wait, there’s more…

As an entrepreneur, intrapreneur or corporateer, you will often be faced by hurdles or challenges. There will be naysayers, blockers, disbelievers, competitors, egoists and, although not as bad, but they can make you feel the same way – there are those people who make you realise you have more to do than you thought. The “Have you thought about that” and the “Wait… there’s more…” crew. The butterflies kick in and inside you think “They’ve got a point”.

Pay attention to the right attitude

Most mistakes, failures or bad decisions happen not from a lack of the right attitude or a lack of confidence, but from a lack of attention to the right detail, or a misunderstanding over the amount of detail needed in a task, process or business. Anyone who raises these with you needs to be listened to, and the other groups need to be closed out. Where necessary plans need to be adjusted - there could be a pivot. But how can you tell the difference between what’s important and what’s not?

It IS rocket science

You may recall that the Challenger Shuttle disaster happened because of a faulty O-Ring? Cardboard doesn’t like the cold, the wet, rocket fuel or any combination of these (attention to detail). Engineers failed to communicate that in a good way (process) and when advised, the wrong decisions were taken to fly - because the message carriers were seen in the wrong context as blockers not collaborators (emotion and ego).



Park the emotion, pick up the evidence

The simple truth is there is no easy way to work out what’s important and what’s not. We can talk later on prioritisation and objective setting later if you want. One thing is certain though, you will give your self a better chance by removing any emotion, ego or other distractors from your evaluation. Of course, this does not mean removing any emotional intelligence, which is crucial to read and gather the right approach and responses in the first place. By removing emotion and ego you are pushed down the path of evidence and research - and into listening to the qualified views of others. By recognising this and not reacting you give yourself a chance of removing any adrenalin – and you have the ability to evaluate those qualified views in the right context. It is no surprise that those who can think clearly and communicate well in a crisis or complex environment achieve better outcomes. How you find your cool, calm, neutral detachment is up to you. Meditation is good, even better if you can capture that focus when faced with a complex challenge. Awareness is a good start.

Enterprising, isn’t it?

This brings me on to another subtle but important point, this cool, calm, neutral approach sits nicely with Enterprise Management. But what does that mean? Well, if you think that an Entrepreneur is someone who sets up a business and takes on financial risks in “The hope of profit”, then Enterprise Management is the cool, calm, detached way of approaching entrepreneurship – you’re geared towards showing initiative, taking risks in setting up and running your business, but you are objectively geared towards "Making the right things happen". A subtle but important difference - hope speaks of emotion and vested interests, and enterprise speaks of balanced, measured, consideration.

Don’t over-compensate

Cool, calm confidence? It’s not faked. When we are told that we can achieve anything through the correct application of confidence, attitude and resilience, what happens when we fail, or something goes wrong? How does that make us feel? Do we feel dented? That we somehow weren’t confident enough? Or that our attitude must have been wrong? Or guilt that we may have been stubborn, through over-compensation, and so can’t pivot objectively? Clearly confidence, attitude and resilience are important factors to move us forward, but the simple fact is they are just some of the facilitators we must build to start up and to keep us going. What really builds success over the long term are skills and capabilities and the ability to remain objective - then deploying these successfully in a cool and calm manner – these compound over time into the inbuilt confidence we see reflected back from the stakeholders around us, because in turn they have built confidence in us. Activity breeds activity, behaviour breeds behaviour and success breeds success.

Listen, evaluate, look for evidence not emotion or ego - and remember, even as an entrepreneur that you are stronger as a team. Good luck out there.