This is the third and final installment of my interview with psychologist Steve Courmanopoulos, PhD, of Medius International, on what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. This time, we talk about working with others to achieve your goals.
SA: Earlier in our discussion, you talked about the importance of having people around you who will question and challenge your self-evident truths and motivated reasoning. Tell me more about how an entrepreneur should work with others effectively.
SC: You may start your business by yourself, or perhaps with a partner or two. Pretty soon, if your business grows and you want it to continue to grow, you’ll need to engage others’ enthusiasm and drive to fit your purpose. Don’t cheap out. Hire great people with solid values who are motivated by what you’re trying to accomplish - then pay them what they’re worth. Get out of their way. Let them show you what they can do. Oh - and, don’t be a jerk.
You’re going to die. We are all going to die. You want to be remembered for the good things you accomplished for others (including your family and friends). That’s your legacy. If you demean, bully, hurt, and mistreat others along the way, that will be your legacy too. It will undermine anything good that you manage to accomplish. You’d be surprised at how many entrepreneurs - in their pursuit of business success - mistreat the people they are closest to.
There’s no equity in being a jerk. If you make others miserable they’ll find ways to sabotage your business, if by nothing else than becoming unengaged and unproductive. If you’re high on the Neuroticism dimension of the Big Five Personality model, it will drag down everything positive you try to do. Look it up, and get help if you need it.
Failed entrepreneurs will often talk about the market conditions, access to funds, bad timing, etcetera, that led to their demise. Some of that may be true, but more often than not, it was their inability to share power and control with others. It was the failure to engage and leverage the talents of others. It was the failure to listen. Don’t be that person! If there is one true thing for all humans, it’s this: Psychology drives everything.
Dr. Courmanopoulos is the Senior Partner and CEO of Medius International Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to leveraging the latest in evidence-based psychology to help clients solve their biggest challenges and grow their businesses. His background includes clinical, corporate, and entrepreneurial career phases.