CEOs often forget that their company exists solely to solve the problems of their customers. And while “focus on customers,” isn’t a step only to be taken during an apocalypse, it has outsized importance when everything around us is changing.
This is the time to surround yourself with a support network. You need people to act as sounding boards, to answer questions, and to solve problems. You need people to connect with and keep you grounded.
This step is straight-up not about whether to communicate. It is about what to communicate. Stress is uncertainty about and the inability to affect the future, so telling stakeholders how bad the future might be without giving them something to do won’t make them feel any better.
The first step in surviving the apocalypse (startup or BigCo) can be boiled down to a phrase Joseph’s father used to tell him — “when you recognize you are digging yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
“Those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when you don’t feel like working, you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream.” – Kobe Bryant
All startups are based on assumptions, and most have devastating assumptions that make the product or service impossible to square. If you have a good startup, it doesn’t mean all your assumptions are right. It means that you’ve done everything you can to find out which of your assumptions are wrong as soon as possible. And once you’ve done that, you don’t just quit and do something else.