Yesterday Donna Fenn posted an interesting interview with Srikumar Rao, titled “Three Paths to Entrepreneurial Bliss” on the BNET Owners Only section.

He’s the author of Happiness at Work and is also known for a business school course on creativity and mastery at Columbia and other schools. She asked him to apply his general business thinking specifically to entrepreneurs.

1. Invest in the success of your team

Rao says:

“Entrepreneurs should think ‘is there anything I can do to help that person do the best he or she is capable of doing as a human being?’ “

I worry about taking that too far, or out of context. I noted in my post here yesterday the Netflix cultural note that “It’s a team, not a family.” As you dig into this one, I think it’s important to keep it in context. Donna Fenn adds that this is about managing a team. It’s about business.

2. Emphasize process, not outcome

The problem is uncertainty, dealing with an unknown future, trying to move ahead in the right direction in times of change. I think one of the greatest pieces of wisdom we have, in small business, is that good decisions can have bad outcomes. So you keep going. Rao says:

“Focus on outcomes only to the extent that it gives you direction. Then forget about outcomes and focus on the process.”

3. Be mission-focused, not me-focused

I really believe in the idea of a mission-based company, built around a set of values. We’re all human, and this gives us the drive to build things and keep going through the hard times. Rao says:

“You need to start thinking in terms of the value that you are delivering to the world, and that has to be more important than what you want from an ego standpoint. If you define what you do in functional terms, you are either burnt out or you will be burnt out soon.”

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.