Your Start-Up Needs You To ‘Wing It’

Working on the fly is a vital part of business; don’t pretend it isn’t

Everyone wings it. Individually we call it a million different things, including ‘being flexible’ or ‘improvisation’ or ‘putting a finger in the air’. Let’s call it ‘winging it’ for now. Sounds flippant, doesn’t it? Like you don’t care, even if you really do.

Problem is, some people aren’t prepared to admit to themselves or others that this is what they’re doing. Even when it’s appropriate behaviour, they won’t own it.

I got a phone call the other day from a contact of a contact. She wants me to be involved in an investment deal for a huge tech contract. It was worth in excess of £30 million. Thirty million quid! Mental. I was legitimately excited.

Because I was excited, I parked the fact that I’d had no details yet and no experience of this exact type of business; I was buzzed at the chance to learn a new skill-set.

I let my instincts take over. Instead of blagging it (as I would’ve done 15 years ago), I told her I was definitely interested but that I’d be offering a split perspective: namely, 50 percent experience-based rationale and 50 percent winging it. Ridiculously, I actually used that phrase over this massive deal!

Her reply? “Actually, Nick: I predict you’ll be at 30 percent knowledge and 70 percent winging it!”

We laughed: she was obviously a step ahead of me. It reminded me that when you wing it (as you’ll have to from time to time), it’s best to show that expert a level head: not too modest, not too ‘pumped’. Self-audit where you’re at with the concept because your ‘winging it’ energy will be in the room whether you know it or not.


Where are you at with winging it? Let me know!