This March marks Field Nation‘s 10-year anniversary. Field Nation founder and CEO Mynul Khan is using this milestone as a time to reflect on the lessons he’s learned so far. Below are 10 insights for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Have A Purpose
Has anyone ever asked you why you want to start a business? Having purpose gives meaning to work, attracts talented people, and keeps them engaged. It’s critical to communicate the future to your organization so they see what the “finish line” looks like. The more vivid the vision is, the better. Purposeful, precise visions bring clarity to strategy and execution.
Lead with Courage and Conviction
At Field Nation, one of our core values is “Think Big and Long Term.” Thinking big requires unconventional thinking, and taking paths no one has taken before. This requires tremendous courage and conviction. Talented groups of people armed with courage and conviction can do extraordinary things.
Be Determined, but Flexible
Conviction helps keep your determination when times are tough. As an entrepreneur, setbacks are inevitable. The greater the goals, the larger the obstacles. It’s also critical, however, to remain flexible in strategy and execution. At Field Nation, flexibility means we will achieve our goals no matter what. We try and try again until we find the path that takes us to our ultimate vision.
The Best Ideas Must Win
Ideas drive innovation. Innovation pushes organizations forward. If we agree on this simple fact, then we must create a culture where the best ideas are valued and supported. Teams should be driven by positive outcomes, not emotional attachments to ideas. Be careful with people whose ideas need to win. They often don’t care about the ultimate win, they care only about their personal glory.
Be Relentless and Push Boundaries
Constantly raise standards and relentlessly push yourself and your team to achieve them. A constant push and a relentless drive enable high potential team members to thrive, and those who are not motivated will leave. Driven employees with high potential must demand coaches and managers who are willing to push them. Driven managers should constantly hire, train, and evaluate employees to achieve remarkable results.
Have A People Strategy
The best hires should have a personality that embodies organizational values. Attracting the right people, however, is not enough. To keep great talent, companies need to create a great culture. It must constantly train, test and sort people. Excellent talent will have great expectations for their company. You must prove to your talent that the company will meet and exceed their expectations.
One of our core values at Field Nation is frugality and resourcefulness. For the first 8 years, Field Nation bootstrapped. Not having enough money made Field Nation a better company, forcing us to be resourceful. Too much money too early on can cause lazy thinking and attract the wrong people. Don’t throw money at your problems, as it can cause permanent damage to an organization. More often than not, it will only hide your problems temporarily.
Continuous learning and execution
Is your organization a learning organization? Learning is key to innovation, and innovation is the key to longevity. Match continuous learning with continuous execution. Beware of paralysis by analysis. Over-analyzing a situation is not learning, and does nothing to advance the organization. Learning should lead to execution, implementation, or experimentation that moves the organization forward. Hire learners who value learning and execution.
Humility is the openness to listen and learn from others. It can also mean the courage to reflect and critique oneself for the sake of self-improvement. Talented, humble people create great team dynamics. Similarly, be aware of arrogant fools. They display confidence but are insecure and closed-minded in reality. These types of people can be toxic to a team.
Keep Evolving Yourself
As companies evolve, people must too. A person who was successful during a company’s formation may be unsuccessful as the company grows. If a company is successful, the same role will demand a different set of skills in the future. At different stages, the same role in an organization will require different responsibilities. It is key to anticipate these changes in preparing for the future. Constantly evaluate yourself and your team to ensure everyone is capable and prepared for evolving roles.