When embarking on a venture – whether a bootstrap startup or a corporate gig – there are seven points of discussion which go a long way towards facilitating understanding and determining alignment. I call them Seven To Grow On. These are good questions to pose not only to the person(s) on the other side of the table, but to yourself as well:
- What would you like the result of this venture to be?
- How will we determine progress and success?
- What constitutes minimally acceptable returns?
- What constitutes overwhelming success?
- What concerns you the most?
- What is unacceptable to you?
- What excites and motivates you?
In discussions with others, you can often lead with questions #1 and #7, and decide whether or not to dig deeper based upon the answers to those. Keep in mind the following cautionary notes:
- Cultural differences may result in misinterpretation of what is said (or unsaid).
- Everyone, yourself included, is inherently (and often unknowingly) biased.
- Things change.
Given the self-evident nature of that third cautionary note, it’s wise to periodically review Seven To Grow On with yourself and others. The only thing more perilous than entering an unfamiliar landscape is when a once familiar landscape has changed.