Spoiler alert: this post contains a spoiler about the conclusion of Celebrity Apprentice.
You’re building a business. It has some similarities to going into battle.
- You don’t really know what’s going to happen.
- You need to equip yourself properly.
- You must be in it for the long haul.
- You need a strategy.
- You must know what you want to get out of it. What’s the mission.
- You need to have a thick skin and confidence.
- You have to be able to handle unexpected events.
- You need to know when it’s time to retreat with honor.
You need the right people in the trenches with you.
But how do you know who will be there, handing you the last cigarette as the artillery fire is landing all around you? Who will jump out of the trench with you and charge into the unknown, eyes fixed on the next hill? Whom do you want to share victory with?
Perhaps I’ve watched Band of Brothers one too many times, but I’ve always known that surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial to success. Jim Collins calls it “getting the right people on the bus.”
How can you discern who will be really invested in what you’re doing…as a colleague, partner, or customer?
How can you ensure that you have the right people?
Here are some tips:
- Work with someone smarter. Surround yourself with people who inspire you with their resourcefulness, their savvy, and their education. If you need to be the smartest person in the room, you’re not cut out to be a business leader.
- Work with someone who knows something different. If your special skill set is marketing, hire someone who’s an ace at finance. Know your own strengths, and choose people who compliment them.
- Work with someone who’s been somewhere different. Find people who have a different life story, a different perspective. You don’t want to be surrounded by yes-men and yes-women. Find people who will argue with you if you’re wrong.
- Give your people a way to shine. Leeza Gibbons won Celebrity Apprentice this week because she consistently took advantage of her team’s talents and allowed them the room to perform.
- Stop trying to convince people. As an entrepreneur, your resources are best invested in people who already “get it.” When you describe your mission, look for the light to go on in the other person’s eyes. If it’s not there, you don’t have a good fit, and it’s best for both of you if you move on.
Who’s in the trenches with you?