There are many reasons Israelis can make great startup founders, from their smarts and ingenuity to the way they refuse to back down from challenges.
One of Israeli entrepreneurs’ greatest strengths is a sense of directness, which usually comes bundled with boldness, otherwise known as "chutzpa." While the two can at times be mistaken for rudeness, they are in reality powerful traits for conducting business, and more generally life.
Taking an idea and turning it into a business means dealing with a wide variety of people, from customers to employees to investors. Being bold, direct and painfully honest with stakeholders, and encouraging them to act the same with you and amongst themselves, is highly valuable in building a business for these four reasons:
When Israelis work with other Israelis and non-Israelis alike, their style is extremely transparent and clear. There’s little double-talk, fluff or room for misunderstanding, miscommunication or speculation. Directness gets a message across more succinctly, and more can be achieved when there is no guessing what the other person is really thinking.
When entrepreneurs leave aside the fluffy language and get down to brass tacks, it eliminates business formality and boils everything down to the truth, which very tellingly builds trust. Openness and authenticity, and the resulting atmosphere of trust, makes for tighter-knit organizations where people are more collaborative, as well as more peaceful and fulfilled.
In open and direct companies, employees are kept in the loop and communication is a two-way street. American businesses are starting to take note of the importance of transparency within corporate culture. Some companies have started sending out meeting notes from even high-level board meetings, while other companies have made all salaries transparent.
Openness and directness encourages pluralistic ideation and out-of-the-box thinking. No idea is too small or impractical to discuss. No opinion is irrelevant or too controversial to voice. No action is immune from analysis and feedback. Directness challenges norms and conventional wisdom, and reduces the risk of group-think and herd mentality. Just what the doctor ordered for a successful company!
More openness and authenticity translates into being less risk-averse. By openly discussing and addressing mistakes instead of discretely brushing them under the rug, one can better learn and later improve. Openly addressing mistakes makes failure more common and acceptable, and thus less scary and paralyzing. A culture of directness thus encourages people to dare, and in turn to ultimately achieve greatness.
The power of radical transparency to bring together a team is something Israeli entrepreneurs already understand. At the end of the day, being direct will help build a better product and company. Keeping employees in the loop will create a sense of ownership and buy-in to the company’s mission, and create a more coherent and connected team.