Jan 20, 2020

Start-up Think

Excerpt from Do the KIND Thing

All my mistakes from those days in the wilderness are responsible for KIND’s success today. Trying to forget or hide your mistakes is a huge error. Rather, hold them near and dear to your heart. Wear them proudly. Big failures hold better lessons than any success— as long as you are in tune with yourself and are open to learning from them. I can trace every one of my accomplishments to earlier failures that I learned from. I know that when you are experiencing failure, it’s pretty damn painful. It is easy in retrospect to wax poetic about it. But in the moment, you don’t think you will survive, let alone have the time to reflect on how valuable those lessons will be for you in the future.

That said, this is the most important time to constructively criticize yourself and reflect on what you did wrong, as well as how you can do things differently in the future. Even when you are succeeding, it is important that you be attuned to your mistakes and actively look for those failures. When things are going well, fast growth can hide a lot of weaknesses and deficiencies. There are companies that seem like juggernauts of excellence because they happen to be part of a fast-growing market. But when that market’s growth slows, or when they get hit by a challenge, their weak culture or lack of internal strength may bring them down. It is easy to lead and seem like a superstar when your company and your brand are taking you places. What is really worth admiring, though, is when you hit a wall and your team’s character is tested.

To build a culture of constant introspection and renewal, we at KIND encourage our team to engage in “start- up think”— to review all practices every year, and to reinvent systems or practices on an ongoing basis if necessary. Question every decision anew, think critically. If you are failing, you are forced to do this. Let those failures invigorate you with the knowledge that, once you know what you did wrong, you can now start doing it right. You are half of the way there. If you are not failing, are you aiming high enough? At KIND we embrace the “fail fast, succeed faster” approach and welcome risk- taking and experimentation (with the qualification that we do not roll out products unless we are confident they will outperform in their category). And if you are succeeding, do not let success get to your head. Force yourself to question assumptions— to use the AND way of thinking to see if you can improve on any and every facet of what you do. Let errors inform you and keep you grounded and keep reminding you that you are neither invincible nor a genius, and that you can always do better.

Culture          Entrepreneurship          Leadership

More from Daniel

Understanding the Tricky Balance When Launching Social Startups

At a time when our world is facing unprecedented challenges, from climate change to political polarization to a global pandemic, entrepreneurs and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders cannot afford to operate in silos. Entrepreneurs possess resourcefulness, creativity, and initiative; heads of nonprofit organizations are equipped with depth of knowledge, purpose, and the patient determination that comes with that purpose. Together, these partners can turbocharge impact if they properly calibrate their respective contributions to create new social enterprises.

read more

Both Sides Are Minimizing Violence. Americans Must Fight for Our Nation

Shocking news emerged this week from the bipartisan committee investigating the January 6 attack: On that dark day, Fox News hosts and former-President Donald Trump’s son sent text messages begging for Trump to address the nation and stop the violent riot. Yet many Republicans continue to downplay the insurrection that dangerously undermined electoral integrity and the rule of law and threatened our democracy.

But minimizing violence isn’t only happening on the Republican side. From Philadelphia to Los Angeles, District Attorneys promoting an anti-police narrative and lax crime-fighting policies have contributed to an alarming rise in homicides and spiraling crime rates. Yet despite the skyrocketing crime in liberal bastions, many of us have family and friends living in these cities who refuse to accept that controversial policies to suspend prosecution for many crimes may have played a role in the violent wave.

There is no comparing an attempted insurrection with day to day crime; one is significantly worse, and a much bigger threat to our democracy. But both sides are suffering from a partisan blindness that has led to minimizing any violence that appears to implicate their leaders. And it presents a huge threat to our country.

read more

Breaking society’s bad habits Starts With Us

Decades ago, hatred began to build in online chat rooms, where people (protected by the anonymity of their computer screens) could post judgmental vitriol with little accountability. We thought these ugly conversations would stay contained to small virtual spaces; but when millions of people adopt the same bad habits, those behaviors add up to define who we are. Hatred begets hatred and nasty words based on nastier (and often false) sentiments, have since spread through social media – and bubbled over into the offline world, too.

Today, we seem quicker than ever to judge one another, and slower than ever to forgive. We often assume negative intent instead of positive, and point our fingers before we’ve taken the time to explore the nuances of a situation. More and more, we’ve replaced trust in one another with chronic skepticism and defensiveness. We have become accustomed to pitting “us” against “them,” and dividing the world – and its complex issues – into two incompatible halves.

read more