Paul Glomski, the CEO and co-founder of mobile app developer Detroit Labs, is a scrappy leader. He is laser-focused on driving meaningful results in his business and realizing the company’s full potential. As a result, he’s unwilling to get tripped up when things don’t go according to plan.
The entrepreneurial process is often mischaracterized as a glamorous ride where a brilliant vision gracefully materializes. In fact, it’s about as messy as a fraternity house the morning after an epic party. As a startup leader, things rarely go as planned and there are no shortage of roadblocks to keep you from bringing your idea to life.
As Paul went to open the company’s initial business checking account, he was met with an onslaught of red tape. They needed endless documents and had no urgency to help open Paul’s account. Not only did he need the account opened, he had a sales call in 30 minutes and couldn’t waste time. Unwilling to concede, Paul shared pictures of his corporate filing on his mobile phone while deftly persuading the banking bureaucrats to proceed. The final step required was the account’s initial funding. Wire transfers and certified funds could have wasted weeks. Instead, Paul grabbed the crumbled $10 bill from his front pocket and slapped it on the counter. The account was opened and Paul got on with the real work of closing the deal with his customer.
Too often, we let the little things get in the way of progress. We succumb instead of conquer. Whither instead of overcome. There’s always an excuse as to why things can’t be done, but the best-of-the-best refuse to capitulate. Instead, they get scrappy and figure it out. In the words of legendary professor and author Randy Pausch, “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”
Reflect on your own obstacles and the things that are holding you back. If you had a gun to your head, what creative approaches could you take to forge ahead? How could you blast through these challenges instead of allowing them to shackle you to a life of playing small?
Detroit Labs is now a multi-million dollar, profitable company with nearly 50 employees. When you review their balance sheet, there’s still a line item called “Glomski Loan” for $10. He keeps it as an ongoing reminder of execution and creative problem solving. It sends a message that his company is all about driving results.
Great ideas are one thing, but having the grit to execute on them is far less frequent. Blast through your own roadblocks, and join Paul in the rare circle of high-performance leaders. It’s time to git ‘er done.