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Beware The Mirage: In A World Of Bravado, Seek Substance "Eloquence, as it turns out, doesn't always translate into efficacy."

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Is it just me, or are a lot more people being taken in by the pizzazz and bravado a person or business showcases, rather than the actual work or value that they bring to the table?

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised by it, given that we live in an age where our social media existences -though largely unrelated to how we actually go about our days- are assumed to be an accurate tracker of how we spend our time on a daily basis- and an indicator of success.

I have often chanted "perception ≠ reality" to friends who have fallen for such fallacies in the online realm- but I'm beginning to think I'll need to start doing this for people within my professional circle as well.

And that's because I am noticing an alarming number of people being hoodwinked by those who talk a very good game- but whose results reflect the age-old problem of something that (arguably) has a lot of style, but very little substance.

Take, for example, a recent gathering that promised its participants an experience like they've never had before- well, that turned out to be true, but for all the wrong reasons. From the sloppy way it was organized, to the tone-deaf topics discussed on stage, it was a total washout, starkly contradicting the marketing blitz it has put us through beforehand.

Consider also the investors who make big claims about investing, but for some reason, they fail to actually write any checks. This is the flipside of startups who have yet to demonstrate anything meaningful in this space- investors who ride the wave of their titles without actually deploying any capital.

Another instance that comes to mind starts with a conversation I had with the latest hire a startup had made to boost its digital presence. This so-called expert spouted every buzzword under the sun, and had no qualms making outlandish statements about the positive impact they could have on the business in question. However, in an email exchange that followed this chat, I asked for tangible evidence to back the bold claims they made, and, well, I have yet to receive a response. Eloquence, as it turns out, doesn't always translate into efficacy.

For all you entrepreneurs out there, this is a problem that I'd ask you to be wary of- it seems to have become far too common for business leaders to be seduced by those who come to them with promises of grandeur. Worse, in this process, they also often tend to disregard those already in their teams who have toiled for just about every success they had enjoyed until then.

Now, this is not to say that you should dismiss everyone who comes to you with a proposal to do something better, or to create something with the potential to be momentous- however, do take everything you hear with a grain of salt, and put checks and balances in place that ensure that they can, at the end of the day, walk the talk.

At the same time, make it a point to acknowledge and appreciate those who have already proved their worth after joining this entrepreneurial ride you're on- in a world inundated with noise and spectacle, there's value in holding on to those with genuine achievements on their track record.

Related: Time Flies (When You're Learning On The Fly)

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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