By Tim Rooney
The painful first 18 months
Trying to make the transition from successful “corporate guy” to “wannabe entrepreneur” was a big challenge – digging deep into my savings and my ego!
It was a painful adjustment waking up to the “new reality.” In the corporate world I’d taken plenty of things for granted. There was an established brand and sales momentum and my pay cheque came in every month – even when I went on holidays! I had a team with complementary skills who could compensate for my own shortcomings, others to share goals and dreams with, people who would also hold me accountable, and, most of all, at the end of the day there were successes and failures to celebrate or commiserate.
Now that I was on my own all that was gone. Yikes! What had I done?
The Turning Point
Things continued along rather scarily until about the 18-month mark, when I made the decision to take on a partner and together we started building a real business.
I was extremely fortunate to have worked with Chris in one of my last corporate jobs. He was younger than me, but we had complementary skills and personalities and we respected each other – so critical in any relationship!
In the summer we would meet prior to a round of golf to “work on the business.” We would have a hearty breakfast and then spend a good couple of hours mapping out our future strategy. We would sometimes continue our discussions as we walked on the course and sometimes we’d finish the day with a “cleansing ale.”
Friendship, competitive golf and some real business development – things were turning around indeed!
Complimentary communication Styles
From a communication perspective my DISC* style tended to be more expansive than Chris’ (some might even say “rambling!”). Chris on the other hand tended to be more fact-based and incisive, asking more tough questions.
Neither style was better but we appreciated and respected the differences. We operated better together – especially in a team selling and training environment, where there were always two sets of different ears operating simultaneously; picking-up parts of the conversation the other party might have missed.
* DISC is an assessment that classifies a persons preferred communication style with others. It was one of the innovative tools used by Rider Cup team captain, Paul Azinger to determine his best pairings for the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2008
Capitalist values and the trend to home offices
In our capitalist world we value qualities like independence, being self-sufficient, not asking for help. Paradoxically these same values can potentially rob you of the support, fresh perspective and new ideas that others can bring to a situation.
In today’s economy many people are working from their home offices. This is the “new normal” and a trend that will only increase with time. It might be efficient from a time perspective but it comes at a price. We run the risk of being isolated and without the support of others can become increasingly less motivated and less productive.
Simulated “survival tests” show that an effective team will always outperform talented individuals working on their own. Recognizing this to be true we may need to consider hiring others for support and to complement the skills we may not possess ourselves. Of course it may not be possible to hire someone permanently or it might make sense to form a “strategic alliance”. Regardless we can all operate better and feel better if we build a diverse support group which will allow you to tap into the rewards and skills of a “virtual team.” Nobody is perfect – but a team can be!