I once took a red-eye flight to Israel to help manage an audit of a software company where I was CFO that was technically based there. We sat in a windowless conference room for many hours. In case you are under the impression that this something you would like to do to yourself – believe me, it’s not. I wasn’t afraid that I would die in that room. I feared that I might live and have to do it again the next day.
Somehow I came all the way around and instead tried to act like it was the most fun thing I had ever done in my life. With that, some good humor from the partners from the Tel Aviv office from Deloitte, and a lot of coffee, we got through it somehow (and my company did fine in the audit, too).
This technique really worked for me and I find myself going back to it all the time. When dealing with insurance and worker’s comp reviews. In prepping analysis for the investor who just can’t seem to get enough of it. In re-jigging a chart of accounts, which can happen quite a bit in a build-stage company that is constantly pivoting.
If you fake that it’s fun, eventually you can (almost) make it so. The term for this was once “grasp the nettle”.
I think it’s rubbing off on people I work with. The above was a screen shot of a meeting invite I just received for an hour-long session sure to be a brain twister as we figure out some inventory ordering and accounting issues.
As a TechCXO partner of mine often says, “life is a sales call”. Not everything in startups is glamorous – so sometimes, you have to sell it to yourself.