“I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not too sure.”
“The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”
When we started out in the last company I co-founded, we had a slight identity crisis. The first few months, and sometimes years, of a startup’s existence is defined by one canard:
All money spends.
It means that unless your company starts out of the blocks with a bang and has revenues coming in from nearly day one, you’re not particularly picky in the work that you’re willing to take on.
We joked that whenever someone asked us “Do you…” we’d immediately cut them off with the reply “Why, yes! We do!” The off-the-cuff response to “What do you do?” was “What do you need?”
In a quest to ensure stability and a flow of revenues for the company, we often stepped into the trap of what I call the “Ohandwe” disease.
It would come up in the course of a conversation. The initial problem that a potential client would discuss fell into what we actually really did well for our day jobs. Then, in continuing the discussion, the client would unveil some other pain point that wasn’t really a fit for our skill set. We could do it, but we certainly weren’t the best in the world. Still, opportunity knocked, and we were confident that we could deliver. If we weren’t experts, we could become experts. We’d broaden the scope by telling the potential client “Oh, and we do [X]” with [X] being something that we might be familiar with, but were by no means experts in.
Early on, this was because we felt like we needed the revenues. As a services company, we were only as good as the contracts that we could keep bringing in and could do well on.
When we took this approach, unsurprisingly, there was a strong correlation between the “Ohandwe” discussion and the projects that we could never quite get to “done” status.