As a pirate captain (president of a small business practicing rogue business execution), I sometimes fall into the leadership trap of “I’ll just do this because I know what I want.” This method is fraught with problems and I’m living them right now. I can’t scale fast enough because I’ve left all the brain-grinding parts up in my skullpot. There’s a reason ships have crews.
Be Aware of Your Inputs and Outputs
In building your projects for social media, especially if you’re a solo practitioner, consider the idea that you might be building one piece of a larger solution, or that you might be executing on only portions of a project. To that end, build your interfaces very well (those parts of your project where you take in information, and those parts where you share out information).
Get the repeatable stuff down on paper and into a trainable system so that you can start others on the business of learning what you know that they could use. For instance, if you know the 12 WordPress plugins you always add to a base install of the software, it’s just easier to put those into a “build” document, so that whoever you have build a new site will know that’s how you want it done.
Know Your Place in the Value Chain
Our friends, Justin Rasmussen and Eric Rasmussen are way better web (and print) designers that us. I was just realizing that I need a document set and was starting down the path of creating it. Duh. This work isn’t for me. It’s for Justin and Eric and they’ll do way better than me, will free me to do other things, and will give me documents that help everyone who uses them.
The value chain refers to a concept I got in Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat. It essentially reminds us to work on things that we can add value to, and to push things off to others to help us with if they can be accomplished in part or whole without our direct input. So, if I’m building a website, I push design and installation tasks to Justin and Eric because they’re better at it and because I can then focus on content marketing strategies, which is what I’m good at (for example).
That’s a key point, by the way. If I knew how, I’d use HTML to highlighter this above part a bit.
Grow Your Crew
If you’re the pirate captain, then keep your eyes peeled for great people to add to your crew (even if it’s as a contractor). If you’re the crew, team up where you believe you can add value. We tend to think only in terms of our own capabilities instead of having awareness of how others can participate in the process.
Want the bonus round? Think beyond your locality. If you can empower remote work, and if you can get into making better runbooks (above), then you can really span your capabilities and work better.
First, I’m curious how this resonates with you. Have you found yourself in that trap of, “I’ll just do it myself” instead of knowing when to work with teams?
Second, I’m curious who will apply this kind of thinking to themselves, either as pirate crew or as a pirate captain, and what you come up with. If you do it, will you share?
I’m going to share my experiences as things move forward. It’s the only way my company will survive.
What say you?
Photo credit Oakley Originals