A disconcerting amount of young people today seem unwilling to ruffle feathers. On the one hand, this is perfectly understandable. When you’re an entrepreneur just starting to make your name, it can sometimes seem like any misstep will throw off your grand plans for success. If you’re worried about how you’re going to appear to potential employers, partners, or clients, never forget that success in business primarily comes not from making people happy, but from results. Achieving those concrete accomplishments and wins requires executing, not compromising, when it comes to your vision.
Conflict is inevitable when you’re building a successful business. It doesn’t mean blood feuds and high-tempered confrontations, but your interests will very rarely be 100% aligned with those of others around you and you need to be prepared for that. It’s all part of being a well-rounded business operator. An entrepreneur who’s never faced any kind of conflict or resistance is one that I’d rather not do business with, and I know I’m not alone.
Great as your ideas are, not everyone will necessarily see them that way. That doesn’t just mean your competitors, but also the people working alongside you, like business partners or investors who have seen and done more in the business world than you might have. Potential clients will even have some pressing questions before they decide to use your services. Navigating these and other inevitable conflicts can be intimidating at first, but it’s a necessity for every entrepreneur to at least have a willing and open attitude towards engaging in them.
It’s all about deploying your forthrightness and honest opinions in an intelligent and well-reasoned way. Disagreeing with someone, even someone more established than you are, doesn’t amount to disrespect if what you’re saying is logical and true. You best know the value of the product or service you’re selling, and if they don’t see that, it’s your job to communicate it thoughtfully.
The idea of resolving conflict with forthrightness and frankness has become a hot-button topic, exemplified with what former Google and Apple executive Kim Scott referred to in her 2017 book as radical candor. The idea of being completely candid about your thoughts, it seems, has become a revolutionary idea in a world where too many people are afraid of stepping on toes. Scott, also a CEO coach and multi-time entrepreneur herself, is part of the growing movement to build relationships through empathy and blunt honesty.
No matter your mission, the road to your goals is sure to present some obstacles. These take the form of people who may doubt your mission, are skeptical of your plans, or just simply aren’t pleasant to be around. These are big challenges, to be sure. Making your true feelings and goals known is a major part of overcoming them.
In the end, it boils down to your belief in yourself and what you’re doing. Never forget the reason you’re in that boardroom, office, wherever the venue. If you can demonstrate that your ideas are worth considering, that confidence needs to compel you to push back when your vision isn’t matching up with what others are offering you. There’s a balance to be struck between a pushover and a steamroller. Being ready and prepared for all the various challenges of entrepreneurship, including those coming from other people, is a necessity for business success. When you’re making big strides, it’s inevitable you’ll step on a couple of toes. When you realize this and are ready for it, you’ll be able to put your best foot forward.