The Paradox of Strong Execution
Chapters Three, Four, and Five each dealt with one of the fundamental domains that form the strong core of any new venture:
■ Chapter Three addressed the principle of founder readiness, how to best prepare yourself and your team for the startup challenge.
■ Chapter Four focused on the importance of developing a market orientation, understanding the customer problem you are solving and allowing your venture to be shaped from the outside-in.
■ Chapter Five emphasized the value of a compelling math story, your organizing logic, your money-making formula, and your path to breakeven and beyond.
These three domains are the core components of your startup blueprint—the more skillfully and fully you address these components and the questions and issues that fall within them, the more promising your venture’s odds of success. Shortcuts or compromises in these areas can leave your new business vulnerable to the downside risk of overheated passion or misdirected enthusiasm. But as fundamental and important as these domains are, your venture is going nowhere without skillful emphasis in a fourth domain, that of effective execution.
Figure 6-1 illustrates the four-quadrant framework for new venture success that my consulting partners and I use to assess and improve new venture performance. It highlights four core factors that differentiate successful growth ventures from those that stall or fail. In a perfect world, issues associated with the first three quadrants—the founder, the market, and the math—would be clearly understood and predictable, in which case strong execution would simply require the flawless implementation of a rock-solid, well-conceived plan. But in the real world, things are never so simple. All four domains are in constant motion, driven by external events, internal learning, and interdependence with each other. The cycling arrows within the model represent the always - iterating, ever-shifting nature of the startup journey.
Figure 6-1. Four-quadrant framework for new venture success.