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Hey Entrepreneur – You Need More Heads, Not More Hats

hats

Entrepreneurship – I really am obsessed, entranced, and totally immersed in all its charms. It’s the only kind of roller-coaster ride I truly enjoy.

I love the fire and drive of a real entrepreneur, that person who “has an undertaking” and is determined to see it through. I love playing a part in innovation, in bringing value into the world in as many unique ways as there are unique people.

But what I do NOT love is watching an entrepreneur go through the pain of trying to fit just ONE MORE hat onto a head that’s already overloaded.

So here’s a love tap for all you “I can do it ALL” entrepreneurs. Yes, you can. You’re smart, you’re passionate, you’re committed, and you’re willing to learn anything and do anything necessary to make your business a success. Your motto is “Whatever it takes” and you take that seriously.

But it doesn’t matter how hard you’re willing to work, or even how good you get at wearing all of the hats. You won’t ever be the only person you need in your business.

Here’s why:

You know that pretty much every trait has a continuum from one extreme to another, right? Yin to yang. Introvert to extrovert. Perfect pitch to tone deaf.

Most people, for any of those characteristics, fall somewhere along the continuum. Not all the way to one extreme or to the other.

So let’s take a VERY simplified look at two characteristics that are VITAL for a successful business — Innovation, and Replication.

Without innovation there is no new value being introduced. No competitive edge, no way to drive market share.

But without replication all the energy goes into reinvention, there are no systems to support consistency, so there is no momentum based on previous innovation.

So what’s the problem with that? Take a look at a simple graphic.

 

characteristic continuum

 

 

It stands to reason that the typical entrepreneur has a high value for freedom and autonomy, or that they have an ownership mentality, opposed to the employee mentality at the other end of the continuum. But when you think about the tendency to follow systems or patterns, to replicate what is already organized or designed, it also stands to reason that this is the opposite of the tendency to stay fluid, to respond to new input or demands, to rearrange what has already been organized or designed.

Most entrepreneurs I work with fall toward the “Fluid and Responsive” end of the continuum, so the hats that they continually fight to make fit because they require traits that are not natural to them, are scheduling, follow up, organization, replication, and delegation (which is both a mindset challenge and a natural traits challenge.)

But the entrepreneurs who have a high value for freedom and autonomy, and have the ownership mentality necessary, but who are naturally at the “Systematic Organization” end of the continuum have their challenges too. The curve balls that are inevitable in developing an entrepreneurial business drain their energy, changes in their schedule or interruptions to their patterns do the same. Fluctuations in the market environment don’t just rattle them because they have a lot on the line, they’re also challenging because this entrepreneur doesn’t naturally respond to new stimuli by easily shifting course and moving forward.

I’ve never worked with an entrepreneur who had an employee mindset, they don’t survive in business long enough to come to me.

But I’ve worked with a lot of entrepreneurs who thought they were both naturally systematic and responsive. And they were wrong. Every.single.time.

So please, for your health and the health of your business, STOP adding hats and make your goal for 2015 (or sooner) to find the right people to wear the hats that just don’t fit your head.

Photo: Flickr/Jason Swaby

 

 

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