Don’t Go It Alone, Get Out of Your Bubble
December 10, 2011 Leave a comment
Since I’ve moved to Austin and joined BlackLocus roughly 6 weeks ago, I’ve probably had 30+ meetings with individuals outside the company. Why? Because without exception I learn something from every one of these meetings that will help me be a better leader and reduce risk of failure during this critical phase of the company’s development when there are foundational decisions we are making every day. You may be thinking, “Geez Taylor, why don’t you just put your head down and get to work instead of networking your way out of business”. There’s clearly a balance here and I’m not suggesting that you should network for networking’s sake, but rather identify folks that have specific and relevant experience dealing with the issues most pressing right now in your business. And by the way, it need not be successful experience, there is a ton to be learned from other people’s mistakes. Wouldn’t you rather learn from someone else’s setback than your own? Whether its the need to raise money, or perhaps figure out a go-to-market strategy, or even how to tackle a tough engineering problem, there are likely people in your extended network that are ahead of where you are today and have navigated, either successfully or unsuccessfully, the urgent problem you have to solve. In either case, that perspective is valuable as input into your decision.
Now there is a consequence to seeking multiple points of view and getting so much data as input. Ultimately you have to formulate a point of view, have conviction and make the tough decision. And doing so with so much external data can be more difficult and confusing particularly if there are a lot of disparate viewpoints on the same issue or problem. But that’s what leadership is! Putting your ego aside, realizing you aren’t the master of everything, seeking external viewpoints and data, then distilling it all and having the courage to make a decision and execute against it.