Entrepreneur Style: The Cowboy

Entrepreneur Style: The Cowboy

Let’s get ‘er done!

It’s a phrase that is commonly heard from this type of entrepreneur: The Cowboy.

  • "Come hell or high-water, we’re going to hit this deadline."
  • "Yeah yeah yeah, great. [he says while interrupting your sentence] What I’d like to do is move forward on this… [often overlooking the valuable facts and details of the deal]."
  • "I don’t care what you have to do, just make it happen."
  • “No, no, no, this is what we’re going to do…"

This person is careless to how things are usually done. Pays no attention to the road posts and signs. And runs roughshod over people.

They do things without consideration of the typical way of doing things. They often have to have team members go back and cover their tracks to ensure they’re doing things within the confines of the law.

Cowboys are valuable for blazing new trails and getting results in difficult places. So Zimbabwe breeds many of these characters in the NGO and “mission field.” We encounter them regularly in the form of an distinct accent, get ‘er done quote or two and a firm handshake.

There is a place for cowboys, but they must be managed, wrangled, and set loose on a project with strict parameters.

  • Here’s what we’re going to accomplish.
  • Here’s the deadline.
  • I want these types of updates from you ever 3 days.

It’s hard to hurt a cowboy’s feelings, so you must speak straight and be willing to go toe-to-toe with your convictions. If not, they’ll run roughshod all over your plan, your project, and doing things the right way.

But if you get them on your side and agree to the parameters every time you talk, they can accomplish the impossible.

(photo via kevin zollman)