As an entrepreneur and business owner your business never leaves you.  So 24 hours later, I’m still replaying this episode with no new answers but some new – maybe more pointed – questions to the question, “Where did I go wrong?  My mind is zeroing in on either a failure in the specific incident or a failure in a larger business community culture:

1) Did I fail to give specific direction or to properly explain not just the goal but how I want the goal accomplished?  I did say he could do it however he thought best, so long as it got done.  And I did preface that I didn’t think his choice of strategy was not a good one.  This is frustrating because it circles back to the balance of encouraging employee autonomy and growing a sense of personal investment and contribution to the company verse well trained drones that mindlessly and without deviation follow command.


2) Have I fostered a toxic community in which my employee now feels superior to our customers?  No secret, Dan and I worship movies like Boiler Room, Wolf of Wallstreet, Suits, and Glengarry Glenn Ross.  All super aggressive, hyper work ethic empire building stories.  This employee has been around while we’ve talked about business politics, shifting power, and moving leverage over suppliers, resellers, and competitors.  Of course, Dan and I are smart enough to know that ultimately the customer pays the bills and is the main driver of our personal success.  This again is frustrating because it further grows the divide between employee and owner. Seems to mean I must sensor myself around my employees to an even greater degree than I already do. On the flip side, Leonardo DeCaprio spoke extremely derogatorily towards customers in front of his employees and they seemed to understand you still had to kiss butt to get their business.  Which takes me to the 3rd possibility.


3) Maybe I just have a faulty untrained ignorant lacking employee.  I think it’s important to point the finger back at myself for self improvement sake but I could just be right and the employee could just be a dud.