The Secret Most of Us Miss
The Sandcastle Frustration
Every summer we take a family vacation to Bethany Beach, DE and stay at a beach resort called Sea Colony. We’ve been going to Bethany Beach for more than 20 years!
Every Thursday, Sea Colony runs a sandcastle contest. Dozens of families participate. We’ve been active participants for the past 10 years at least.
Each year we come up with an idea and go at it and every year we end up getting “Honorable Mention” (which isn’t as great as it sounds – everyone who didn’t get one of the top 3 spots gets Honorable Mention!).
It’s been fun, but frustrating. Especially since my kids have gotten older and more invested in winning the contest. We’ve tried our hand at sea creatures, forts, etc. One year we tried the Titanic and had a similar outcome as the historical ship!
A Change in Strategy
But one year – 2008 – we WON the sandcastle contest! We beat out 83 others.
So you may ask, “What was different this time?” If you were to see a photo of our winning entry you would notice that there are more people than my family in the picture. All of these additional people are dear friends of mine. But there’s one who was key to the whole operation – one of my best friends, Joe.
Joe works by day as a nurse, but he’s also an incredibly gifted artist. I’ve been trying to get Joe down to Bethany Beach on a Thursday for years for this very purpose. I finally did – and we WON!
And the Secret Is…
If you’re like most entrepreneurial leaders, you prefer to do most things yourself. You may complain about it and wish someone else would do it, but you don’t let anybody because (you believe) THEY WON’T DO IT AS WELL AS YOU. Or at least they won’t care as much as you do.
I have been guilty of the same entrepreneurial curse and I finally got sick of it.
I knew I could never build a winning sandcastle…at least by myself. But I was certain we could win if I brought in the skill of my friend, Joe. And it worked.
You want to do the same thing with your career, business or consulting firm. Leverage your skill set by teaming up with others – that’s the secret most of us miss.
Think of your investment portfolio – you want to diversify your portfolio by various types stocks and bonds, as well as industry and sector. In the same way, you want to diversify the sets of skills and value you bring to the organization and the market place. This can be done effectively by partnering with others and outsourcing certain activities.
For leaders, this involves skillfully delegating tasks to others in a way that truly leverages the corporate skill set of the organization. It’s about bring the best of the best to the table to handle the work required. Meanwhile you are freed up to focus on what you do best.
The Biggest Myth in Business
Also participating with us in the contest was another of my best friends, Lee, a very successful consultant and partner with a big 4 accounting firm. Lee once told me something I’ll never forget:
“The biggest myth in business is that you can do it on your own.
Not true, you need other people to help you be successful.”
I realized then that the brute force, pioneering mentality that makes so many entrepreneurial leaders successful has its limitations. This mindset will get you so far, but if you want the stratosphere of success, you need to shift your way of thinking and diversify your portfolio of resources.
The Advantages of Diversification
There are two major advantages to diversifying your portfolio of resources:
- You bring top-notch skills to the table which will get you a better result in less time.
- You now have more time to spend on the things that you’re really great at, which will bring more value to the organization and more income to the bottom line.
What Will You Do?
So make sure you don’t miss this secret – diversifying your portfolio of resources will set you apart as a leader and make your organization more successful. Here are some simple steps:
1. Take inventory of all you do and all you want to do – those things you’re not getting to.
2. Assess where your sweet spot is – those tasks you’re great at. Keep doing those.
3. Evaluate what can be outsourced or leveraged to others and find strategic partners.
Implementing this secret could very well take you from Honorable Mention to First Place!
(Contributed by David C Miller.)