The power of being (reasonably) self-criticalPosted on July 19, 2012, by Chike Farrell
Another post about entrepreneurship from the Caribbean Ideas perspective. One of the things that I talk about alot with the team, is that we channel great sports teams when we think about how we want to run the company in many respects. Not surprising I suppose because the founders are very much into sports and I’m personally a sports nut. So of course I get a few blank stares from time to time when I reference sports teams in analogies but I digress.
One of the things that I respect the most about team-based professional sports as an industry (especially our football and American Football) is that though they may have their flaws as organizations just like anywhere, there are a few positives that have always resonated with me as a businessman, and as a person:
1) These sports are based on a number of people working in sync as a team to a higher objective.
2) Individual success is grounded first in talent, however the cream of the crop work hard at their crafts.
3) Performance is constantly evaluated (Watch clips of an episode of Hard Knocks on HBO to see how constant it is). There is room for compassion, but in the world of professional sports, people can be dispassionate about things and focus on the bottom-line.
4) Most of the prizes in focus in professional sports are hard to achieve, and great to win. Like I always say to folks, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
5) Finally, great performers get rewarded ultimately, which is great. How many companies say they want to be a meritocracy but at the end of the day are not.
So we’ve been getting into the often dreaded performance review phase at most organizations, and we’re of course trying to make it a process that is as painless as possible by ensuring that there are no surprises, and that everyone is upfront and straightword about where they are.
I’ve been struck by how self-critical people are of themselves, and where they are, and realised that it’s an awesome thing to be (reasonably) self-critical. Think about it in the sports world. If you lose this year, you have to have the fight and the will to look at yourself and where you went wrong and the determination to come back better than before to claim the title.
The best teams are able to look even at the things that they’ve done well, and find the areas to improve, forget about what they’ve done and re-focus on the future goals.
Being self-critical is a major benefit to anyone in my opinion. Too many people think a bit too much of themselves, or are afraid to turn the flashlight inward.
As we continue our journey toward building a different kind of Caribbean company, I’m going to ensure that we continue to focus on the prize, and aren’t afraid to both focus on our strenghts, and be aware of our flaws. The great thing is though, that it looks like with the kind of ambitious, hungry people we’ve got who want to do more and grow and develop, we’re in a good spot.
How do you think about self-criticism? Is it a good thing? Where does it stop being constructive?
Leave a commment, send me a tweet @chikefarrell or @caribbeanideas.
CEO, Caribbean Ideas