By Prof. Enrique Soriano
“Success is not necessarily about connections, or cutting corners, or chamba – the three Cs of bad business. Call it trite but believe me: success can be achieved through hard work, frugality, integrity, responsiveness to change, and most of all, boldness to dream.” — John Gokongwei, Jr., JG Summit Founder
Adversity Quotient (FAQ) refers to the resilience, adaptability, and ability to thrive in the face of mounting challenges and uncertainties that business founders typically possess. It is a measure of their capacity to overcome setbacks, take calculated risks, and persevere in pursuit of their entrepreneurial vision.
Founders often start their businesses from scratch, facing financial risks, limited resources, and market uncertainties. Armed with nothing but grit, they experience firsthand the struggles and setbacks that come with creating something from nothing. This process builds their AQ as they learn to cope with failure after failure, pivot their strategies, and find innovative solutions to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship. The emotional attachment founders develop to their businesses further contributes to their high AQ. Having founded their enterprises, they are driven by more than just financial success. More often, their businesses become a reflection of their identity. To quote psychologist Harry Levinson, “An entrepreneur’s business is simultaneously his “baby” and his “mistress.” For the entrepreneur, the business is essentially an extension of himself, a medium for his personal gratification and achievement above all.” This deep emotional investment fuels their determination to overcome challenges and turn setbacks into opportunities for growth.
As founders build their businesses, they acquire diverse skill sets, ranging from leadership and creative problem-solving to risk management and adaptability. The entrepreneurial journey exposes them to a wide range of experiences, honing their decision-making abilities and fostering a growth mindset. That is why founders have a higher AQ compared to their offspring. Let me begin with the founder literally starting from scratch.
The phrase “starting from scratch” captures the essence of a founder’s journey in establishing a business from the ground up. Founders are entrepreneurs who have the vision, determination, and passion to turn an idea into a thriving venture. In the early stages, they embark on a challenging and unpredictable path, encountering numerous obstacles and uncertainties that test their resolve. At the inception of a business, founders face financial constraints and limited resources. They often invest their personal savings, seek funding from family and friends, or take on loans to fund the venture. These financial risks can be daunting, as the outcome is far from certain. Moreover, they might encounter skepticism and doubt from others, adding to the pressure of proving the concept’s viability.
As the business takes shape, founders navigate a highly competitive market, requiring constant adaptation to changing industry landscapes. They deal with early failures and setbacks, learning from mistakes and using them as stepping stones for improvement. This resilience in the face of adversity is a hallmark of successful founders. The journey is a transformative process that shapes their character and leadership style. It also fosters humility as they learn to seek advice, collaborate with others, and acknowledge that they cannot do it all alone. Overall, the FAQ builds tenacity as founders persistently pursue their vision, even in the face of skepticism or rejection.
Does the next generation have the same level of adversity?
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