A Forgotten Principle of Scaling Growth

Dreams Are Built Overnight

I once was a part of this amazing coaching group called Sleepless Nights run by David Shands. Who’s also written a book: Dreams Are Built Overnight. The concept of this book is not that dreams happen immediately. But that we build them day by day, moment upon moment, and minute by minute. The results you seek for your business and employees are easily attainable. Now, I say that cautiously because yes you will encounter difficulties. However, if one sticks to their vision and continuously invests in those that are helping create they can conquer those obstacles!

As you continue to read you will see how utilizing constructive criticism as a tool. Heightens adaptability and creates problem solvers. It distinguishes who you want as an employee and who you don’t. As well as create products that naturally attract your customers, guest, and or consumers. It’s a route entrepreneurs and business owners should utilize to maximize their potential for success.

Now, how does the first paragraph tie into the second you ask? Great question, as leaders and business owners we’re honored with the privilege of being a resource to those under our administration. It is our duty to advance their abilities to efficiently contribute toward the goals of the company. Please note that this synergy isn’t something that one creates immediately. Thus enters the concept of dreams are built overnight.

Before we begin, I’d like to define “Constructive Criticism”. Constructive Criticism is useful feedback birthed in honesty and truth. With the intent of enhancing someone or something for a specific purpose towards a specific purpose. This is the ideology I would like for you to leave with today.


Humans Hate Being Lied To.

I’m not sure how many of my readers have seen the movie Djano Unchained. Nevertheless, this section of the article reminds me of a scene from the movie. One of the characters becomes upset because everyone is complaining. His wife had created a specific piece of everyone’s wardrobe and had not done a particularly good job. He goes on to say, “all I here is criticize, criticize, criticize” and then leaves the function abruptly.

This is what we as business owners, leaders, managers, etc. seek to minimize. Still, we must fight through those awkward moments and provide criticism that is constructive. It is important to remember that people in general do not appreciate being lied to. Not only that but their success or failure could be tied to your feedback.

Netflix’s Blue Print

Netflix at a point and time had what some would have considered a backwards culture. One reason being because they openly shared constructive criticism. Nonetheless, it was effective for what they were creating. Patty McCord shares a story with us from her book Powerful:

“It hurt. People told me, ‘Colson, you’re not good with communication.When you need to get a message out to a wide audience you take too long to make the point and it’s unclear.” His initial reaction was to think, Oh yeah? Well, I’ve got a lot of things to say about you too! But before long, he realized that “when you reflect on what they’ve said, you see from their point of view, and you learn how to improve on those things. That directness was really helpful.”

Often, businesses focus on releasing as little information and feedback as possible. Have you ever been a part of this type of company? I’ll be the first to admit it isn’t fun! Trust is a foundational principle required to successfully grow your employees, business, and revenue. Providing unreasonable responses to reasonable questions leads to the diminishing of trust.

This in turns sets your company and the employee up for failure. How does one learn from their mistakes if the company doesn’t objectively identify and accurately communicate the mistake? It creates a process and behavior of false achievement.

Additionally, it makes the annual review that most companies partake in awkward. Usually, companies typically wait until then to reveal what their employees have been doing incorrectly all year. It is then when they reveal to the employee who is expecting to receive a raise, the stereotypical statement. “Based on your performance (you already know the rest, but I’ll finish) you won’t be receiving a raise.”

Consequences of Avoiding Criticism

Having worked across multiple industries and sectors, being an employee, owner, and employer. What rains true across all parameters is that when employees and customers feel heard, success is eminent. Create parameters for all participants to ensure there is a semblance of direction. Of course, this is dependent on the organization.

 Constructive criticism has the power to exponentially increase the productivity and ability of your employees. It will also weed out the employees who do not continuously progress with the growth of your company! By allowing yourself, your company, and your employees to avoid criticism, you place them on a trajectory to consistently hit mediocrity. That may be okay for some but if you’re reading this article then I know it isn’t for you.

The Microsoft KIN, launched in 2010 was a perfect example of how avoiding criticisms produces failure. Unbelievably, the phone only lasted on the market for 48 days. The problem? Microsoft failed to do comprehensive testing of the smartphone. This was evident after the phone went on sale. Research conducted post sale revealed that most 15 to 30-year-olds desired Androids, BlackBerrys and iPhones opposed to the Microsoft KIN.[1]

Had criticism and feedback had been received while the phone was in development, Microsoft could have avoided huge embarrassment and financial loss. To reiterate the stance once more, early constructive criticism is a necessary factor for future success.[2]

Creating A Billion Dollar Company

Growth Hacking is a newly recognized phenomenon of how companies scale the growth of their company. A vital component associated with their system is constructive criticism which they deem “small experiments”. In these small experiments they put out a controlled sample to their desired market. To allow their users / customers to dictate what they use it for and how they’d like to see it. Through discourse with the consumer, they create the ideal model and produce it to the masses as a finished product.

Take Instagram for example which was acquired by Facebook for $1 Billion. They began as an app called Burbn for whiskey drinkers. Overtime, after continuous conversation back and forth with their users they gained insight and clarity on their most used feature. Eventually, they scraped everything else they had been focusing on and homed in on Burbn’s photo sharing mechanism.[3]

This is the culture Netflix created both inside and outside of their company. This is an attribute of how they scaled and grew Netflix to be a $25 Billion dollar company. They provide their employees with TRUTH and empower them to constructively criticize deficiencies and vocalize needs! Both with co-workers and leadership, none are exempt from receiving awareness according to Patty McCord previous Chief Talent Officer.

To Be Or Not To Be

To quote a famous Shakespearean quote, “To be or not to be…that is the question.” This is the question one must ask himself. In addition with, what is it that you desire to create? There is a balance that one has to operate in. Guidelines should be created and enforced by your leadership team(s) to ensure that improvement occurs and not detriment.

My girlfriend frequently becomes upset with me when I don’t allow her daughter to win. It could also be that I make it a point for her to understands that she’s lost haha. We live in a society slowly edging its way to being void of criticism, truth, and honesty. Understandably, the other side of this ideology is that we’ve created a monster. The internet, it allows for individuals to criticize, criticize, criticize (troll) with intent to cause harm. Regardless, it is evident that “constructive” criticism leads to growth and better environments. It’s high time we started holding individuals more accountable opposed to the items used to spread their malice. But, let’s save that conversation for another time.

I Am The Master of My Fate

One of my favorite poems Invictus states we are the masters of our fates; we are the captains of our souls. It is up to you to dictate how your business functions and grows. If you haven’t learned by now. I simply enjoy providing and equipping you with tools to maximize potential and experience success! Constructive criticism proves itself to be an effective way to instantly improve your company. WHY?!?! Because if you improve the skill of those under your guidance it can only make your business better. 

The articles you read on King’s Digest focus on little wins that lead to big wins. Often, companies grow too fast without having invested time in foundational items. Small details create the foundation! I will admit that this isn’t how one traditionally or should scale growth. However, this is an element underutilized and often forgotten that allows a person to process and prepare for growth.

Lastly, without having capable individuals to carry out the growth, growth will not occur. We vividly illustrate this when we compare Microsoft’s KIN to Instagram. This isn’t about equipping individuals with skills but developing and expanding the skillset they already possess and refining them through leadership. By equipping this tool, you position your business to be ahead of most entrepreneurs and business owners because most avoid constructive feedback.

“Remember It’s Always Bigger Than You”

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[1] Complex: The 50 Worst Fails In Tech History

[2] LifeHack: Why a Criticism Is Better Than a Compliment

[3] NeilPatel: What is growth hacking