A few things I’ve learned so far…
“It’s not what you say. It’s HOW you say it.”
We generally refute claims unless they have strong supporting evidence. It’s in our critical nature to force the burden of proof on the communicator to convince us beyond doubt of his/her argument. I’ve learned that there are many different ways to formulate an argument, some more persuasive than others. You don’t learn them in school. You learn these through dialogue and debate; through conscious assessments of your ability to communicate ideas simply, persuasively, and concisely. It’s not the best idea that wins the match, but the idea that was best communicated.
“Balance Closure with Confidence”
When you delegate a task, you’ll often feel a need to ensure the task has been completed by your peer. you’ll follow up, ask for progress, and want to confirm completion. What your brain is looking for is closure. Closure lets us turn the page and move on. Until we get closure, it’s difficult to let go.
But seeking closure too often can also be felt as lack of trust and confidence in your peers. You don’t want to let “closure” become “nagging”. This is detrimental to work relationships and creates an uncollaborative atmosphere. What you should do is balance closure with confidence. Be critical of when it is necessary to “check-in”. Seek closure with “usefulness” in mind. Do with your peer and the task in mind, not for peace of mind. And if your follow up isn’t necessary, then trust in your peers and let go. They are responsible for it now.
“Business is all about relationships.”
Business is all about relationships. It’s amazing what a connected network of peers, friends, and colleagues can do for your business. At Ubiqua, our first opportunity was the result of a personal friendship our founders had with the CEO of the other company. He was willing to give us facetime and tell us about his problems. He gave us an opportunity to add value. It was the quality of the relationship that opened our first door.
Maintaining healthy value-adding relationships has been key to our growth. We check in regularly with our clients and our users. We address any concerns and seek opportunities to continue to add value. Every ounce of energy we invest into our relationships pays back tenfold. It even brings us referrals and new client opportunities.
“It’s OK to trust your gut.”
You make decisions every day. Some big, some small. Some more meaningful than others. I try to make my decisions based on the data at hand. I try to look at the numbers and have them inform me of the best outcome. But sometimes I ask myself, “Where the hell is the data?”.
Many challenges we face don’t have mines of data waiting to be analyzed. This happens more often than we think. A lot of decisions will need to be guided by your intuition and your ‘gut’. This is OK and the reason why is simple. You understand the situation better than anyone. You’re in the trenches day in, day out, fighting fires and mastering your craft. Your intuition and gut will most likely guide you to the best outcome. They have all the data they need; real life experience.
So next time you’re struggling with a decision: define your options, state your assumptions, make a gut comparison and decide on a course of action. Measure and review the results later on. If you’re unhappy with the outcome, go back to the list of options, add in new context, and repeat.
You might have noticed that none of these lessons are exclusive to startups. You’re right. I believe these lessons are relevant to all types of career paths and company sizes. Regardless of your choice of career, what matters most is to make the time to reflect on your experiences and learn from them.
Cheers to next time!