The other topic in the book discussion on April 25th was prompted by Letter 8, “The Companions in the Journey,” where I talk about the joy – and necessity – of having a close partner in the entrepreneurial adventure. Several in our discussion group pointed out how difficult it was for them to find a lasting partner. They argued that ego and the need for control got in their way time and time again (probably their own as well as potential partners.) Nevertheless, I still feel that a close relationship with someone who complements our weaknesses and shortcomings is essential for success, and that all leaders must make an effort to find those close companions on the journey. The challenge is how to indentify them, and, when we do, how to make them feel like more than just employees or “associates” but true co-drivers of the company’s future. I would love to hear what you have found works – or does not – in making this happen.
Last night I had my first Letters to a Young Entrepreneur book discussion! Several topics became the focus of the conversation. This is an intimate group of friends that have been meeting for years to discuss books, and last night’s choice was Letters. One of the participants, prompted by the “Introduction” section in my book, questioned the role of family influence in shaping entrepreneurs. For me, my father’s explicit attitude that difficulties were always viewed as challenges became a key to my approach to the vicissitudes of growing a business. One of the other participants, a very successful advertising entrepreneur, had a similar experience. Throughout her business career she remembered her father’s words: “while others stand and watch, you act.” The bumps on the road, far from causing her to slow down or even desisting, became the opportunities to do better and to get ahead. In my book I have many examples of how this attitude was important for me. In fact I consider seeing the glass half full to be a hallmark of the entrepreneur. I welcome hearing of your own experiences in this regard.