If you are a founder, entrepreneur, startup CEO then you are familiar with the notion of transforming chaos into order. [OK, let me say — “I hope you are.” However, we both know it is not as well ingrained as we might hope.]
If you are an “aspirin” startup — meaning the raison d’etre of your love child is to reduce the pain of mankind, the chaos is the pain and the order is the pain free — or lessened pain — environment that results thereafter.
If you are a “vitamin” startup — meaning the raison d’etre of your little bastard is to improve the quality of life, the chaos is the inferior quality of the before and the order is the higher quality plane of the after.
There is a decided “before” v “after” transformation.
Bit extreme, but it makes my point. Guy lost a lot of weight? What a magical transformation. I imagine he feels a lot better. Took those bad eating habits and created some order, no?
In all things, there is some transformation of the chaos into some more desirable order. You have free rein to describe and define that order. Even drag queens are in the chaos >>> order transformation business.
This basic transformation — chaos >>> order — is at the core of everything the world wants to do or has done.
It is at the core of one’s life, marriage, education, politics, recycling, startups, college football (talking to the slave masters over at the NCAA), our relationship with China, warfighting, peace making, landscape maintenance, and writing a blog.
And, yet, I constantly find startup Illuminati failing to hold this lens up to their endeavors. Don’t get me wrong, they are trying to make order from chaos, but they are simply not using that frame of reference.
This focus — making order from chaos — has to show up in such ordinary things as committing to the written word the Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives of the enterprise.
It should also underpin every job description.
Give me something actionable, Big Red Car — sheesh!
OK, impatient dear reader.
1. Identify the chaos that is the current state.
2. Define the future orderly state you desire.
3. Get a firm picture of the before v after.
4. Identify the costs of the transformation.
5. Fold this into your planning: Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values, Culture — you can’t get to a destination if you don’t define the destination.
6. When you appraise performance, appraise the progress versus the plan. Know where you started, where you are headed, and your current location.
There is a cost to doing anything
In the mindset of the chaos >>> order shtick, understand that the journey creates heat, light, friction. It consumes money and it takes time. There is a cost. If you don’t move now, it will get worse and wear you down.
Look at this guy — President George W Bush. This is what eight years of a tough job (with decent pay, and really good housing, food, travel, vacation, and support benefits) looks like at the end of eight years.
As a startup founder/entrepreneur/CEO, you don’t have unlimited time. Your job is to do the best you can with what you have as constrained by time to make order from chaos.
And, that, dear reader, is how the cow ate the cabbage today in Austin By God Texas.
But, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be you.