When Times Are Tough, Give Your Team This Pep Talk
Entrepreneurship is not easy. Not every day will be a good one. And what do you do then?
Step one: You remind yourself that you’re not alone. "At some point -- and usually at many points -- the startups I’ve founded or invested in hit dark days,” said LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, now a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners, on his podcast Masters of Scale. “The company faces an existential threat. It will live or die on how the emergency plays out. The team is tired. The team is discouraged. The team is scared.”
To reinvigorate them, you move on to step two: Find the words that'll inspire them.
When times are tough, Hoffman said he's often delivered a version of the same speech to his team members. And on the most recent episode of Masters of Scale, he offered a version of it. Here’s Hoffman's rally cry:
"If startups were easy, everyone would do it. They’re hard. But that hardness is the thing that gives you the chance to change the world. All startups go through a valley of the shadow. All of them -- PayPal, LinkedIn, things that I’ve done personally, things that I’ve invested in, Facebook, Airbnb, all have valleys of the shadow where you’re like, 'Why did we think this was a good idea? We didn’t realize there was going to be this landmine, that it was going to be this hard.' But that’s where you have the possibility of being heroic, of accomplishing something that no one else has done, of making a change in the world that gets reflected into society and changes millions of people’s lives. And that’s the reason why you face down these dark days, you band together, and you work very hard to solve them. And that’s your chance to be heroes.“
Try your own version of that the next time your team needs a pick-me-up. Consider it: People aren't just there for a paycheck. They're there to feel like they're doing something meaningful -- and with your vision, you can create that sense of meaning.