Here I feel part of the pressure these knowledge workers feel also comes from the demands made on them. To enter an unstructured environment with little understanding of what to expect does not help. Sometimes you can blame them for committing him/ herself too early. But, most of the time we look for the kind of certainty from them that they simply cannot deliver. If we understood the nature of uncertainty better than we would be more sensitive to the needs of the entrepreneur. A little more empathy would ensure we encourage them to articulate their place in the uncertainty cone. What they need to do to convert the uncertainty into risks and complexity. And, how they are going to go about this. Just to give you an example. We all know the cash flow estimation are going to be completely off the mark but we still demand them from entrepreneurs. While this forces the entrepreneur to focus on the financials of their business. It also de motivates them because they know it lacks relevance and lowers their self esteem.
Using a tried and tested method can help. The uncertainty cone has been around in industry for over 50 years now. Here at the start of the project there is too much uncertainty to have a clear cut understanding of what the end will be. The direct causal relationship between what you say will happen and the actual outcome are broader. The four generic phases -Inception, Elaboration, Construction and Done - help to highlight what kind of commitments to make and when.
Project estimation, market research, understanding the psychological gaps, ability to read the market, understanding the nature of gaps they are looking to plug, the level of problems they are trying to solve, understanding the basics of business organisation, the phases their business will have to go through all can help to make this dark art into more of a science.
This isn’t to say variation and volatility will disappear. It won’t. But it will lower the failure rates we treat as the nature of the beast. It will allow trained professionals to maintain their high standards of integrity. In short, understanding the nature of uncertainty. And, customising industry standard tools for entrepreneurs can only help.