What is Standing on the shoulders of Giants?
This is essentially working with a support group, coach or mentor so you aren’t completely recreating the wheel. It doesn’t really matter what stage your organization is in, you always need somebody to bounce new ideas off of or somebody who you can talk to when working through issues.
I am a big proponent of support groups that don’t entail your spouse or family. They love you to much to be brutally honest, they also may not know how you are when working or leading groups. Friends may fall into the same boat if they are too worried about hurting your feelings.
There should be people in your support group who have expertise in what you are going through or they should know where to look. You are looking for mentors or like minded individuals who can help you along your journey. In an ideal situation, you will be with a group of like-minded individuals who are helping each other.
The biggest piece of advice…Ask questions and ask for help when you need it. The worst that can happen is the person will say no. If the person doesn’t know the answer and they like you, they may refer you to somebody who does. I’ve been known to hunt the answer down for people or give options when it is not a clear issue. For startups, turnarounds, and realignment groups, I’m a firm believer in them setting up their foundations. If the question has an effect on their culture or foundation, I will always advise that they review the issue and the options with their group before they make the final decision.
Some additional resources for finding mentors or help:
Sometimes help is not free, but worth every penny…
I wish advise was always free, but you sometimes you must hire a coach or consultant to get to the next level. You may have to get creative…trading services…learning to do a portion of a task yourself.
Sometimes you can join groups for a reasonable monthly fee (if you know where to look) to get advice. Some membership groups will include behind the scenes looks of professional businesses thereby reducing your learning curve and getting a good deal on a consultation. (FYI – If I’m going to pay for a group, I’m going to ask lots of questions! I get a lot of help through the GetPaidToSpeak community with Ford Saeks and Darren LaCroix.)
Again, know when to ask for help. There’s not much room for error when it comes to legal issues or taxes. Hire the consultant.
Example: I knew that I would have issues with a particular client from past experience so I hired an attorney friend to help me clean up some clauses in the contract. As expected, the client crossed the line and was put on notice after the first infraction and then terminated after the second. As a startup be mindful of clients who employ potentially illegal contractor employment practices. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Final words of wisdom…
If you are doing something totally new and revolutionary…you may be leading the charge! Just hang in there, that is part of leading!
- Learn from others where you can, and keep moving…
- Mistakes will be made, learn from them and keep moving…