Discipline vs Freedom in Startup organisations

Be the change that you wish to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi

India’s feisty and young startup entrepreneurs seem to believe in this philosophy as they change the way people dress, eat, work, travel, shop, enjoy and relax. They are doing this by disrupting the age-old sectors and creating new businesses.

When you quiz some of the leading entrepreneurs you will realise that it is the pursuit of freedom that led them on to the entrepreneurial journey.

They were eager to follow their own passion, take their own decisions and be their own boss. They chased their dreams by setting out on their own. Most of all they enjoy the freedom in whatever they do. But to enjoy freedom you need to be disciplined in life and work. If you are disciplined you will find time to ‘live’ and have fun despite the umpteen responsibilities you shoulder.

Freedom also means responsibility

You can be a responsible entrepreneur only if you are disciplined in life. An entrepreneur is free to create a new product or service and launch it in any market. Freedom for an entrepreneur also means responsibility for their actions- whether it is good or bad.

Discipline and freedom are complimentary

Dig a little deeper and you will see that responsibility and discipline are complementary processes that give you more freedom. The journey to scaling up and growing is sorted when you see freedom and discipline as supporting acts.

When entrepreneurs start out their journey they feel bogged down by other pressures and don’t get to fully enjoy their new-found freedom. They will realise that job constraints have now been replaced by those from investors, cashflows, employees, vendors, clients, and several other sources.

You need to follow certain disciplines in order to create the space you need and enjoy your freedom.

Manage yourself first

You should put your own house in order before you start giving others advice. By demonstrating certain values in yourself you can bring about change in your employees. If you encounter problems in your establishment, before you address them examine if you have them yourself.

You will naturally focus on the development of others when you focus on your development. If your employees are more disciplined they will become more responsible, too. And there won’t be too much pressure on you to manage them.

Build a strong culture

A secret ingredient that keeps organizations alive is culture. Be it partners or investors or clients or employees it attracts the right kind of people to work with you. What keeps the organization safe is a strong culture as it serves as a self-correcting platform. Only when there is stability in your actions and behaviours you will succeed in building a strong culture.

Know what is important and implement them

Not knowing what’s important is a problem faced by some entrepreneurs. Some others will know their priorities but won’t know how to execute them.

You have to be always aware of what’s important to your organization to take action. If you are disciplined you will not lose focus on important matters.

Get the right investments

When your investors and you are not on the same page it will create more chaos than order. We’ve seen many stories of startups in recent months that lost their way after speedy infusion of capital. Before taking an investment develop the discipline of appraising whether an investor is fit for your needs in the long run.

Track cash-flows

If you fail to keep a track of what you earn, and what you spend, you will lose sight of real money. Even if you are making profit it is imperative to do less-exciting activities such as invoicing, book-keeping, and getting paid in time. This gives you a sense of problems before they occur because you have the discipline of tracking cash-flows.

Resist making every decision

There is no need to involve in every decision. People will learn only through failure. Let your employees make decisions and fail within a structure. Think of your role as a success when the company thinks it can run without you, not the other way round.

Entrepreneurship gives you a platform to freely express yourself in myriad ways. However, to succeed as an entrepreneur freedom and discipline should go hand in hand. You will realize your potential only if you follow these disciplines.

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