Leadership: Hard-fought Wins, Undeserved Losses, and Vice Versa
I stole the title of this blog from a middle-aged guy who got into trouble and then wondered, “How do you know when it’s too late to learn?” That’s an interesting question for someone like me who’s had his fair share of hard-fought wins alongside a few undeserved losses, and some undeserved wins and hard-fought losses. Go figure.
As the title suggests, I’m passionate about not knowing, especially when it comes to the right way to lead people and grow a business. At any given moment, I have ten ideas, and I’m absolutely certain that six of them are correct. I just don’t know which six. Evangelically agnostic. Such are the paradoxes of being an entrepreneur.
Now I’m running a craft brewery, which is an industry full of more challenging paradoxes than any I’ve ever seen. We must simultaneously be world-class creatives and scientists. Beyond the brewpub, it’s a capital-intensive industrial business. Treat it like a factory, and your culture and brand fall apart. Treat it like a marketing agency, and your beer will be mediocre and you’ll never generate a return on all that capital. Treating your team like family is a requirement; managing your team like family is a disaster. And if you juggle all those balls but lose sight of your personal family, friends and health, you’ve lost the only things that matter.
It’s enough to drive a man crazy. And I’ve been out on that limb a few times.
P.S. Because I like straying outside the lines, I’ll say here and now: I intend to write about leadership psychology, organizational culture and performance, and navigating the daily shitstorms that come your way as an entrepreneur (what Alex Trebek would call “Potpourri”). That, and any other issues I can’t deal with in therapy.
A little out of place, a little out of tune
Sorta lost in space, racin’ the moon
Climbing the walls of this hurricane
Still overall, I can’t complain.
~Todd Snider, “Can’t Complain”