Why plans fail

Rhett Miller’s song, Singular Girl, has a line that says, “talking to you is like long division.” Charles Mingus states, “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”

Why do we over analyze situations? Why do we make the simple complicated? In general, business is a simple concept (and so is life), but we find every darn way we can to complicate it.

I too floundered. I made the simple complicated. In my second tech startup, Acadia, I had the greatest opportunity and blew it. One of my investors, a successful, retired businessman who took an early exit from one of his successful ventures, asked if he could work alongside me in Acadia. I was thrilled, but what happened is a regret I have to this day.

He did come and setup an office in our new location. In the beginning, he sat in meetings, but I didn’t utilize him enough. I was arrogant and ignorant and did not actively seek his counsel. Because I didn’t, he moved on to another group that he was invested in. He said, “It doesn’t appear you need me.” He did stay invested and on the board, but his day-to-day counsel was lost. Uhhh. I was an idiot. Thankfully, we had a successful exit 6 year’s later, but think of what we could have accomplished, and what I could have learned, if I’d sought his counsel.

There is a proverb in scripture that says, “Plans fail for a lack of counsel, BUT with many advisors, they succeed.”

In my 3rd tech venture, I did seek counsel, consultants and an executive coach. Wow…what a difference. Simple stayed simple. The wise counsel gave clarity to my leadership and to our business. It was the most successful exit I had in 5 startups.

Two takeaways: #1. Counsel can make the complex simple. #2. Heed the advice of counsel

Heed my advice and the advice in the proverb and keep it simple.

Mitch Smith
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