I’m a bit of a night owl and from time to time when I’m up late I look for some old movie to put on. Recently it was Armageddon.
While watching it this time I was working a marketing project so I was thinking about business while it was on. It struck me just how much the events of that movie parallel the lives of entrepreneurs.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
- Sometimes you have to take a chance. The whole plan to save the world in the movie was pretty crazy and involved doing a bunch of things no one had ever done before. Entrepreneurs often blaze new trails in business, doing things that no one has ever done before. There are loads of examples of this throughout history. We wouldn’t have electric lights, motorized flight or phones with touch screens if key people hadn’t taken a chance on doing something no one else had done before.
- A perfect plan doesn’t exist. In the movie, if they had waited until they could come up with the perfect plan and covered all of the contingencies they could think of, the Earth would have been destroyed. Don’t wait to take action so you can perfect your planning. This is also known as “analysis paralysis.” Don’t fall into that trap. Your plans will never be able to cover everything and they’ll never be perfect. When an opportunities or disasters present themselves you will often have to act fast to respond. That’s just the way life and business are. Don’t try to plan for everything, it’s not possible. Planning is important but so is action. Plan as best you can then take action and make adjustments on the fly.
- You’re only as good as your team. In the movie Harry says, “I’m only the best because I work with the best. If you don’t trust the men you’re working with, you’re as good as dead.” That’s absolutely true in business. Business success is a team activity. If you have a great team, you can succeed. If you don’t …
- You have to learn when to back off and let your team do what you hired them for. In the movie, Harry had to back of and let AJ do his thing to get the last 75 feet drilled rather than keep giving him orders. AJ got it done. You often have to do the same with your employees. Yes, they might make mistakes but you hired them to be part of your team for a reason. If they make mistakes, they’ll learn from them. You and your team will be better as a result. You have to trust your team enough to do what they feel is the right thing and back them up.
- S*** happens. Sometimes all the planning and team work in the world fall apart because of something no one could predict. Whether it’s things like a rock storm breaking the trigger on the nuclear bomb you’re supposed to use to save the world, a key staff member calling in sick or a supplier making a delivery late, you still have a job to do and a deadline to meet. When that happens, you just have to make things go right and get the job done over or around the blunders, obstacles, problems, disasters or whatever might come up. When push comes to shove you have to deliver on the job you’re supposed to do, whether it’s saving the world, cleaning a house, fixing a car or anything else.