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Starting or Finishing?

I asked some fellow store owners for their thoughts on the following quote:

“Don’t worry about finishing, just get going.”

Is this appropriate advice for a retail store?

Their thoughts were quite interesting.

Many people loved it, felt that it embraced their entrepreneurial spirit.  To them it meant to quit worrying about results and just start doing things.  You’ll adjust as you go along.  If you don’t get going, you’ll never finish anyway. Anything is better than sitting still.

Others hated it, felt that starting something without a plan or and end in sight was foolish and a waste of time.  You’ll spend far too much time, money and resources without seeing the proper return on investment.  I know one employee who left a retail job because her boss was far more interested in starting multiple projects without ever seeing one through to fruition, which drove this employee mad.

After thinking about it for a while and reading what others had to say, here are my thoughts…

On one side I believe you need to think about finishing so that you don’t waste your efforts but on the other side some initiatives just need to get started and then they’ll take a life of their own.

More importantly, however, I think this is a good statement for finding out an important character trait of a potential employee. Someone who takes umbrage with this quote might be more apt to do one thing fully to completion, whereas someone who embraces this quote might be more apt to come up with creative ideas and new initiatives.

Most importantly, I think every business needs a mix of the two mindsets, someone to get projects started and someone to see them through to fruition.

Stop.  Think about where you landed the first time you read that quote.  You might want to find someone on the other side of the coin to balance you out.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS  I would venture to guess that most business owners fall somewhere to the side of agreeing with the quote.  That’s the entrepreneurial spirit in us.  But you do need finishers.  Seth Godin has a term for the person who sees things through to completion. He calls them Linchpins.  If you are not (yet) a fan of Seth’s, you might want to check that book out.

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