‘Manage your own energy’ to manage your business: Bob Dorf

The real rewards of leading a startup lie in the passion for what you’re doing  – and not your exit strategy.  Why?  Because you will need your passion to maintain the optimism to keep yourself and your team going the distance.

That’s just one of the leadership insights shared by Bob Dorf at Startup Grind Toronto July 30, co-hosted by the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management.  The conversation touched on many aspects of leading a startup,  particularly the customer development method as the path to viable products, reducing startup failure, and removing business risk to more easily secure venture capital.

“Managing your own energy and momentum is critical” to leading those around you, Dorf said. The co-author of The Startup Owners Manual says one must create a “reality distortion field” at times to maintain a team’s positive momentum when uncertainty must be faced and financial stress abounds.

Managing your own energy  is becoming understood as a key leadership skill in any business, but one that can easily take a backseat in the grind of a startup.  One resource I have found useful is The Energy Project.  You can take a quick online audit of how effectively you are managing your own energy as a leader. I recommend the Energy Project’s information resources, tools and tips for fueling these different energy capacities.

One of the key concepts is to think about energy beyond just physical energy to include mental, emotional and spiritual energy.  All four are keys to positive performance.    Some of my clients have found their energy restored by cycling, others by spending small amounts of time outdoors taking photographs, and others by singing – take notice of what gives you energy and build it into a daily activity that refuels you.

Refueling your personal energy is the source for maintaining the optimism that Bob Dorf declares is the startup founder’s job.


Cheryl Sylvester
Cheryl Sylvester
Cheryl Sylvester is a Leadership Coach, Brand Communications consultant and W100 Business Owner. A perpetual idea generator, entrepreneurship cheerleader, and wanna-be geek, her clients include Novell, PlateSpin, Mozilla, HP, Tenscores & Polar. She writes about Leadership, Communications, Entrepreneurship and Women in technology.

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