Running a Business is like Raising a Teenager

Dr Rick Nason spoke at TEDxHalifax, Sunday about the difference between simple, complicated and complex. His examples were: sending someone to the moon is complicated. There are 100,000 steps that all have to work in sequence in order to be successful, but they can all be calculated. On the other hand raising a teenager is complex. What works at 10:00 may not work at 10:15.

Running a business is simple. We know what we have to do: create a remarkable product or service offering, deliver it consistently, collect the money and pay the expenses of the business.

Not complicated.

It is complex. The environment of business is shifting and changing.

What worked last year, won’t work this year. We’re not dealing with hormone-driven teens, so the time frames aren’t quite so short, but the shifting environment is similar.

If you have raised a teen, you know that what works best is to create stability, but be prepared to let go of the outcome. The more you try to control, the harder it will be. Reacting as though this is a complex situation, won’t address what is really happening.

When you are dealing with a complex situation, you must be prepared to control the things you can, have the serenity to let go of the things you can’t and the wisdom to know the difference (if I can use Dr Nason’s twist to the serenity prayer).