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How properly is your startup ready for sudden govt or managerial absences? The promise cycle may help you with uncertainty

Being an entrepreneur means adapting to change and having a flexible vision.

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25, 2021

4 min read

This article has been translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

By Carlos Flores, Head of Business Development Mexico

Being an entrepreneur means adapting to change and having a flexible vision to respond coherently and prudently to the unknown. While it is in its nature to adapt, 2020 showed that there are many things to learn and adapt. The pandemic increased uncertainty not only in the business environment but also in people's lives. Up until now, economic, social, or governmental movements were envisaged, but they never affected every person and company in the world.

Peter Senge's book The Fifth Discipline discusses the importance of a vision that everyone in the company can follow. In organizations, the vision is usually embodied in huge walls, it is spread in the manifestos or in every newsletter. Even so, all of these stimuli are ignored by most employees as commercials with smoke warnings. People do not respond to trivial stimuli until they are useful.

A few months ago, the CEO of Descifra, a startup sponsored by Wayra from Telefónica Movistar, had an accident that prevented him from working for several months. The co-founders had to take over the functions of CEO. Most of the processes remain in the knowledge of the responsible person, but there is no disclosure of these procedures that can be carried out by a third party in an emergency.

One of the best immediate reactions from the Descifra co-founders was to meet as a team and speak clearly about the steps to be followed, the reason the company existed and of course, for support in this time of crisis. to add all of them to the vision that permeated them. Peter Senge emphasizes: “A shared vision is not an idea. It's not even an idea that's as important as freedom. There is a force in people's hearts, a force of incredible power. ""

After the shared vision has been clearly defined, roles and responsibilities need to be assigned. One effective way to do this is through the "promise cycle", the steps of which are described below:

Creation of a trusting environment for dialog with employees. A shared vision helps create this environment of clarity and trust. Request the task explicitly and agree on all the details: time, form of delivery, quality levels, formats, etc. leave no doubt as to what is being requested. Validate with the person who was given the task clear understanding and receive – an explicit acceptance – or – an explicit rejection -. It is important to have a forceful answer: "Yes, I can comply in time and in form" or "No, the conditions are not attainable". In the case of innovations in particular, it is important to make clear and specific agreements. In cases where the answer is "no," you can ask additional questions to negotiate agreements such as: B: What can we achieve? What conditions would you need to achieve this? Agree with the person you are delegating a task to and ensure that the task is completed through reviews and interim adjustments. When the delivery time arrives, there are two options: a) the agreement is fulfilled, for which it is important to thank and acknowledge the good work, or b) the agreement is not fulfilled, it is necessary to make an effective claim do – review the agreements, request to stop or perform the task (corrective action), and review learning to avoid violations (preventive action). Restart the cycle, talk about learning to do or not do the task, and reach new agreements.

Actions like these can be useful in this changing environment. Don't let time pass and give yourself the opportunity to resume conversations with your team about the vision (the reason the company existed) and look for the “explicit yes or no” when assigning tasks, your management will benefit.

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