The Importance Of ‘We’ – Daniel de Gruijter @ GE Bootcamp 2018

2. Daniel @ GE Bootcamp - The one where they think I_m gay

This blog post is part 2 of a series of 7 posts, transcribed from a presentation by Daniel de Gruijter on business & entrepreneurship during the Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp 2018, titled: “Why you should f*ck up fast & often”. Watch the full presentation here: https://youtu.be/0XqF5ZtkGw8.

During the Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp 2018, Incitement Cofounder & CEO, Daniel de Gruijter, shares 7 stories about ‘Why you should f*ck up fast & often’, and how each of those failures taught him valuable lessons on business, entrepreneurship, hiring, leadership, and more.

Scroll down to watch the video.


There Is No “I” in “We”

When we started Incitement, my business partner Zikry is usually the one that’s on stage. I’m very much off-stage. I like to stay in the back, work with the team, work on operations and automations. I like to come up with new business concepts and strategies. I don’t like to stand on stage per se to do stage appearances. But Zikry, he loves it, it’s where he thrives. It takes a different kind of person to be on stage, and so we strike a perfect balance together. 

When we started Incitement, we made a very deliberate decision. I will stay in the back, you will go up front, which means that I will not get any of the mentions, whereas you will get all the fame and attention, so to speak. Just recently we received the prestigious BrandLaureate CSR leadership awards, and although this award, as many have been, is an award for Zikry as a public figure, the reason he is receiving it is because of his work with Incitement. 

I don’t care much for recognition. I do what I do because I like it. I am doing it because I get to work on cool and exciting stuff, and we get to create social impact, improve people’s lives. But there was one thing that frustrated me about all of this – something I kept hammering on this all the time.

When Zikry was making stage appearances, he usually wouldn’t say: “We did X.” Instead, he said: “I did X.” This is a subtle difference with large implications, denying the entire team (me included) of contribution to the reason he’s up there. The moment you say, “I have achieved this” or “I went there” or “I did this” it means that nobody else did it but you. It means that your team had nothing to do with it. It’s demoralising for a team and demotivating to not get the credit due.

Take Responsibility

I started hammering on this, because I saw it as something crucial in leadership. I hammered on it every time he said “I” where I thought he should have said “we” and every time he said “we” where I thought he should said “I”.  I believe that when something goes wrong you should take responsibility as a leader and owner of the business. And the moment something goes right, you remove yourself and give credit. It’s a small thing, but it really motivates your team to stand behind you and to make sure that they feel that they are a part of all the achievements, while at the same time it makes them feel safe because they know if something went wrong, you will take responsibility for it, you will have their backs.

It was, at moments, frustrating for Zikry I’m sure. Eventually it became a habit for him, and he’s doing fantastic now of course. As a result he practices this in the personal context as well, not only in a professional context. He started saying it like we are together (me and him). So much so that at conferences people started to come up to me and Zikry, and even to me girlfriend at moments, asking if I was gay, whether if Zikry was gay, and asking if there was an opportunity for them…

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

The takeaway here is that if you do something well, especially if you work with a team, make sure you give credit where credit is due even if that means completely removing yourself, even if that means that you will not receive any credit or recognition whatsoever. But if something goes wrong, no matter how wrong, horribly wrong, catastrophically wrong, make sure that it is known that it is your mistake. In the end you’re responsible for everything that happens in your business, and nobody else should fear making a mistake because you don’t take that responsibility seriously.

Watch: The Importance Of ‘We’

Watch All F*ck Ups & Failures Here

1. The one with the lazy Malay
2. The one where they think I’m gay
3. The one where I fired my girlfriend 
4. The one with the bipolar girlfriend 
5. The one with Sheldon Cooper
6. The one where I got arrested 
7. The one where we got evicted

Or watch the full presentation by Daniel de Gruijter on business & entrepreneurship during GE Bootcamp 2018 here:

Why you should f*ck up fast & often (https://youtu.be/0XqF5ZtkGw8)

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