It’s all very well to talk about the hike up the mountain when you’ve hit the summit – hindsight is, after all, a wonderful thing.
At our latest Kick. Start. Smart event, someone who has definitely climbed to Everest-like heights of business might be tempted to talk from a place of ‘making it’ but even though Andy Lark is CMO at Australia’s leading accounting software firm Xero, he was quick to cut the bullshit out of his business speak.
We noticed a theme emerging through his honesty-littered keynote – that there are more than a few things both burgeoning and big businesses alike can stop thinking (and doing). Here, we’ve gathered a few of our favourite business myths that we think it’s time to quit believing.
We should be focused on ‘work/life balance’.
We’re big advocates here at Collective Hub for reframing the discussion on ‘work/life balance’. But we loved Andy’s particularly cut-through assertion: “It’s impossible to work forty hours a week – most of us work eighty – and use the remaining twenty to use balance in!” Andy laughed at the crowd.
They’re just enough hours in the day to ‘balance’ it all – it’s all about work life integration, Andy emphasised. A few hours by the pool and a few by the computer in Bali? Yep, says Andy. Totally possible. (Entrepreneur Paul Schulte is also in agreement).
You should fail fast.
While we definitely agree with the importance of taking your mistakes in your stride and switching tactics, Andy was quick to debunk this oxymoronic terminology.
“Fail fast?” Andy yelled. “Don’t fail at all if you can!”
Yes, you’ve got to know when to pivot and recognise when something just isn’t working but should the word ‘fail’ come into the conversation at all if you’re using it as an opportunity to grow and develop?
Your business purpose will tell you what to do.
While our opening speaker Stevan Premutico distilled the idea of ‘why’ so perfectly for our attendees, there’s still the question of how your purpose really drives the end outcome of your business.
More often than not, Andy told the crowd, your purpose as a business will lead away from things, rather than to them.
“You can tell if your purpose is right if it tells you not to do things,” he pointed out. When really trying to build your brand, it’s just as important to consider the things that you don’t align with as much as the things you do. Don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities if they don’t match your purpose. Because, as Andy confirmed: “Purpose really, really matters… The most purpose-driven businesses generate exponentially greater profit. It’s a fact.”
Innovation happens in a boardroom.
Or a café, or anywhere there’s a whiteboard. Real innovation happens when you have people to create the vision you’ve been trying to develop – it’s when, Andy explains, you have makers.
Engineers make up more of the Xero team, Andy confessed, than any other department in the company. Against “tiny” marketing and sales teams, their ‘makers’ are a huge proportion of their business. Why? Because they’re the ones who make everything actually happen. So, urged Andy, it’s time to take up tools and be a maker.
Doubt is a bad thing.
MODS, or moments of doubt, dissatisfaction and desire aren’t anything to fear, explained Andy: they’re the aspects of life and business that you should embrace. It’s where the magic happens. How else would Uber know how to satisfy the transportational thirst of the masses without realising there was serious dissatisfaction in the taxi industry?
It’s time to consider what can really grow out of doubt at any stage of business building – you never know where that pain point can take you.