• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Be specific, simple and smart


I read the story of an ancient young man who borrowed a horse from a good friend for both urgent and important journey. While the horse owner was handling over the horse to him he said “carry my horse, it will make the journey faster”. In a bid to meet up with deadline in the journey he attempted to strictly complied with his friend instruction that says “carry my horse; it will make your journey faster.” He was assuming mysterious help but ended frustrated in an attempt to carry a horse.

Dear entrepreneur, although that story was a joke, it is the same way many of us assume that team members understood our messages without getting feedback. We need to demand for clarity while given out responsibilities to associate, team members, and material suppliers. It helps in sustaining business and strengthens relationships. Assumption is the lowest form of knowledge.

The law of decision sates that nothing is dynamic until it becomes specific. Except one is specific about information, job description or expectation from team members then there cannot be self-motivated responses. Why that? Lack of clarity slow down execution and mislead too.

Businesses can not have consistent good business result except there is specific goal. As an entrepreneur, you have not made any decision until it is specific. What does it mean to be specific? It simply means definite knowledge. In addition, it means to be free from doubt.

Recently, I looked closely at two of Nigerian banks. One has a long known specific brand promise and the other that just rebranded for a new brand promise. Both are very specific with the promise and simple for stakeholders to recognise. One says, “BIG, STRONG, RELIABLE and the other say “SPEED, SERVICE, and SECURITY. These are their specific and simple promises to customers. These companies are specific and simple to understand that people can identify them by their brand promises without mentioning names. Entrepreneurs can be specific and simple about promise because it helps build confidence of stakeholders.

There are two categories of entrepreneurs. You are either a “general scope entrepreneur” or a “specific scope entrepreneur”. Based on my interactions with entrepreneurs and readings, there are more general scope entrepreneurs than specific scope entrepreneurs.

“Specific scope entrepreneurs” handle detail very well. They cannot be confused with figures irrespective of the circumstances. Many entrepreneurs, whose temperaments are phlegmatic and melancholy, are usually specific scope in dealings. They understand sequences of events, procedures, rules, and how each part of complex things works. When interrupted they will continue from the exact spot or go back and do the step by step again. They usually are listeners and communicate clearly to workers, associate and stake holder.

A general scope entrepreneur is often the one who doesn’t have time for detail. She can jump from step to step in random order. She is easily confused and bored with details of business transaction. That is where the danger lies. A general scope entrepreneur wants execution now and it must be now. Give her a contract agreement of more than five pages to read, then she read the first page, scan through other pages, open to last page and sign the deal straight. Often, this gets the general scope entrepreneur into trouble after signing bad and unclear deals.

Many years ago, I bought into shares of an engineering start-up as a minority owner and it turned out bad. This was because the CEO, great guy with specific scope in technical delivery, but who was a core general scope in administrative responsibility.  He often did not like detail paper works and we got involved in unclear contract that turned the start-up book red. I learnt the lesson there and I think you can avoid that pitfall. You need to improve your specific scope skill by doing the following.

One: Seek to understand and be understood

It is important that you listen, do due diligence and be clear about the information and deals. In addition, get instant feedback from your team about the responsibility you give to them. When you put up this kind of practices, it becomes an mind-set with time. I mean it takes time for this habit to form so forgive yourself when you make mistakes.

Use adverbs and adjectives in communication. Always try to find the exact form of verb or noun (“Deep yellow” bus).

Two: Be smart to leverage on the service of expert

There are experts such as lawyers or company secretaries who have been educated and trained to be specific and you can get their services from time to time and learn along too. In addition, I must say that you can leverage on your team members who are talented specific scope personalities and take advantage of their skills both for services and to learn.

I believe you will fulfil your dream. Cheer up!

Victor Mamora