Fight, Compromise Or Give In Graciously: How Not To Lose Twice
Whether it’s fighting for success, dealing with staff members or attracting investors, Taryn Williams, CEO of theright.fit and founder of WINK Models, talks about how destructive it is to carry resentment. Better to give in graciously and happily move on.
I read a fantastic article recently by American entrepreneur Mark Suster, that really resonated with me, called “Fight when it’s time to fight. Be gracious when its time to give in”.
It struck home to me that when you compromise or give in, do it graciously, take the high road, feel zen about it. He brought up this notion of “losing twice”.
If you acquiesce to someone’s demands, for instance an employee, a partner or an investor, do it without any resentment that they’ve won and you’ve lost. Celebrate that the deal has been made, and don’t be mean spirited about it. Otherwise you lose twice.
By nature I’m a fighter, not a compromiser. But as I get older (dare I say it a little wiser) I can see more clearly when it’s time to go in for the fight, meet in the middle, or let other people win.
Launching a successful business is definitely not for the feint-hearted. You’ve got to be prepared for the fight. And with both WINK Models and theright.fit, I feel like I’ve put up two good fights and continue to do so.
You have to accept that it means making sacrifices. There are times when it’s hard, really hard, and you’re going to question if it’s all worth it.
What made me so passionate and willing to fight was working in the industry as both a model and a producer and experiencing things in the system first hand that really jarred me. Why were agents always so awful to their talent & clients? Why were there so many inefficiencies and inequalities? Why would models have to wait months to be paid? And why wouldn’t they embrace technology to expedite the process of bookings & castings? Surely it’s not that hard to build an agency that works for everyone within that premise and help everyone to thrive.
I believed back then and still do that I’m fighting the good fight.
Find your tribe, keep them close and support them in every way you can.
Building a strong team is the most important thing in business. You need to find your tribe, and get them flourishing alongside you. You need to find people you admire, who you are in awe of, that make you want to be a better version of yourself, and inspire you.
At the end of the day, it IS all about how you treat your team. My team know I would go to war for them, I would fight for them and they for me, and for each member of our team. We’ve got each other’s backs. Everyone’s opinion counts, and every member of the team gets a say in the strategy and execution of the business.
The “fight, compromise or give in graciously” philosophy holds a lot of weight when building your team.
When one of my senior staff came to me asking for a pay rise, it made her the highest paid person in the company (even above me). I decided not to be annoyed about it and lose twice and instead created a situation where we could both win. To achieve her pay rise, we created a list of KPIs together, and I made sure I encouraged her and gave her the tools to achieve what we had agreed to. Instead of losing twice, we won twice, together. I had a happy employee and a healthier bottom line as she hit all of her targets.
It’s a huge lesson for me, about how important it is to invest in your team. Fight for the ones you know you need to fight for, and empower them to fight for your business, too.
With theright.fit – it’s the second time around as a startup for me and I’ve been able to build the company in an entirely different way. Building a strong team, paying quality people what they’re worth and knowing they’re 100% committed to the hustle is important. They love the fight.
Fight, compromise and grow.
So with a great product, a growing committed team and business building fast, it was time to look for investors to keep the momentum going. And that’s a whole new world of learning about when to fight, compromise or give in.
With good income and cash flow I didn’t have to settle for ‘dumb money’ – money from investors who didn’t add value outside of just capital. What I did want, were great strategic partners, investors who brought skills and connections to the table too, so again it was a time to fight for what we needed.
I knew the skills, experience, and type of advisors I needed to have around me to make theright.fit work. I started contacting people who I knew would give me the right advice and asking them for their support and guidance. That’s part of the fight – know what you don’t know – and then work your ass off to learn it. Fight to be better.
When I first met venture capital firm Airtree, I knew from the very first conversation we had together they were great partner potential. But I didn’t rush in. Instead I asked a lot of questions. You’re about to, in effect, get married to this person or company, so you need to know them as much as possible. They know that they only succeed if you succeed, so make sure you’re on the same page as to what success looks like.
Some things you will have to compromise on (there’s that word again). I certainly did. In fact both parties in our negotiation had to compromise until we reached a place we were happy with. Once we made those compromises, we both embraced it wholeheartedly. Again, it’s much more productive to accept compromise completely, understand the reason for it, and then be 100% behind it. Do not carry resentment – like I’ve been saying, you only lose twice.
Our investors have been a fantastic sounding board, and are our biggest champions. They’re marketplace experts. They bring connections, years of advice, and support in the areas we need. Without compromise on both sides, this partnership wouldn’t have been possible.
So now we’ve raised the capital, brought on our partners and business is growing – what’s next?
The same sort of philosophy will continue to pervade my businesses. Fight for what you really want, compromise when you have to or when it makes sense to. And when you do, be gracious about it.
And as I’ve learned, never resent any of these compromises because instead of winning in business, you lose both emotionally and financially.
Advance your career + join our team of creatives: theright.fit