The Wisdom of Crowds

I mentioned before that I’m beginning a new business venture with some friends. Though certainly there are drawbacks to going into business with others, there are also some advantages. One of the biggest is the law of averages. On any given day one of us is bound to be panicked just a bit, but the other are able to keep us on an even keel. Without others to watch my back I’d probably have thrown my hands in the air and walked away a long time ago. Starting a business is stressful.

I believe it’s important to choose business partners you get along with and can have fun with. More importantly, however, you should be able to communicate. Every partner needs to feel valued and respected. If one partner is afraid to speak up you could be missing some valuable insights and ideas. At the same time, unless everyone can really handle it, it’s best to avoid a no-holds-barred, speak-whatever-enters-your-mind type situation as well. Group dynamics are important, but I suspect most groups fail to take the time to really build a cohesive group.

It’s easy to assume that because we’re all adults we should all be able to get along. But really, “adult” is such a broad category, that’s even less useful than saying all white people behave alike or all cats do such-n-such. People do not behave or think the way we think they do. We really only have ourselves to judge by, and chances are there are few people who think just the same way we do. And perhaps if you do find such a person, you should not go into business with them. You’ll both fail to see the same pitfalls.

We’ve probably all heard at one time or another about the four phases of group development: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. There is no guarantee a group will ever get past Forming or Storming, really. With a group of friends they may never even realize that there is any storming going on, let alone really do anything to move beyond it. It’s too easy to take one another for granted.

I’m not sure where this is going, other than to emphasize the importance of social self reliance. We really do need to know how to get along with people if we are to succeed in life. It’s not the easiest ability to develop, but it can be critical in so many different situations. Unless, of course, you’re a hermit, which is not the brand of self reliance we preach here. 😉

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