I started my own business six years ago. Like most new entrepreneurs I had a great amount of enthusiasm but lack of practical experience. So what did I do? I started reading any book and article I could find on entrepreneurship. I wanted to know what made Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg such amazing creative geniuses and leaders. I wanted to understand how Amazon and Google became the world’s most admired brands. I felt I could learn so much from these amazing personalities and brands.
As time went by and my business started to expand and grow I started wondering whether my management and leadership styles were truly effective. What would Steve Jobs have done if he ran my company? How could I make my company more Google like? What would Jeff Bezos do if he was our CEO? After all, these people are the creative geniuses of our time, right? They are the best in their league.
What does this have to do with the US elections, you might be asking yourself! A lot! A lot!
Let’s look at Donald and Hillary.
Hillary represents all the books that most of us read to get inspired! The nicely designed, sugar coated, just believe in yourself type of books. They are great books, don’t get me wrong but they do not really represent the truth. Yes, Steve Jobs was a creative genius but everyone that has ever worked with him would agree that he was not the nicest person in the world. It was his way or the highway. Quite different from the collaborative thinking that we are being told to implement in our companies. Also quite the opposite from the leadership styles that most books on entrepreneurship are promoting.
So, my question is, in today’s, obviously, very crazy world, does being nice, open minded, collaborative and emotionally intelligent really pay off?
If you look at Donald’s victory, the answer would be NO!
Yes, he is racist, yes he is ageist, anti-feminist, gay, Muslim and immigrant hating, self-loaded person but he has two things that, I think, all the great business leaders we admire had and still have- arrogance and ego! The two things that all of the fancy books we buy on daily basis say that we should not have if we want to become great leaders.
So what does this mean? Does it mean that your ego will bring you more success than being understanding and considerate of others? Does it mean that being arrogant is actually the way to make it in life?
Maybe yes, maybe not!
But the one thing that this election has definitely taught me is that there are no rules when it comes to making it big! No rules whatsoever!
Hillary was the picture perfect candidate but she lost! Donald was the arrogant prick that won! Very similar to the entrepreneurship world around us! The hipster guy working from an exotic beach is the perfect picture of entrepreneurship. But! But he is not the guy that will make it really big. It is the arrogant guy that eventually will start playing the corporate game and shove his arrogance in people’s faces that will truly win the entrepreneurship race.
So what do we do, do we change? Do we stop sugar coating reality and start presenting it the way it is? It seems that things are moving that way! More and more entrepreneurs are starting to get fed up of the “pink” interpretation of today’s business world and the whole just “believe in you” mentality. I just hope that arrogance and ego will not completely replace the two.
Finally, in a world obsessed with winning and “Wolf of Wall Street mentality” the US election showed that no matter the hard work, no matter the sacrifice, no matter the winning spirit, sometimes the answer will be NO and there will be times when your effort, no matter how big, will result in failure.
And maybe this is the greatest lesson of all. It is OK to fail. It is completely fine to admit that - 'There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do is just to curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again.'