It Always Takes A Team – Entrepreneur Lessons Learned

As part of my goal to facilitate mentoring and start conversations between generations I spend a lot of time interviewing women entrepreneurs about “what they have learned”.  One of the most common things  I hear is the importance of building the right team. Then they talk about leading that team and learning how to manage.  I think much of this applies whether you are an entrepreneur or not…when it comes to achieving your goals collaboration is key.

This woman realized that having an idea wasn’t enough…it was motivating everyone else to see your vision and mobilizing a team to see it. It’s not enough if only you see an idea. It may indeed be a breakthrough idea but if you can’t communicate it to others it’s tough going making things happen.

“The fact is to be an entrepreneur, you need to be able to see things the way they could be vs. the way they are and you have to believe that if you can see it… you can make it happen. Then you have to inspire others to want to do it with you…because it always takes a team. I’m happiest when collaborating to materialize real results and I never give up. For me, entrepreneurship is a natural habitat.” – Audrey MacLean , founder of Network Equipment Technologies (NET) and Adaptive, Executive Chair of Coraid, Associate Professor at Stanford and venture capital advisor 

This woman realized that motivating others means you also have to see the way other people see things. You have to mobilize them around the same goal …yes. But you can’t be blind to the fact that not everyone will be motivated the same way you are…

“Not everyone is like you. It’s natural to assume we’re all motivated by the same thing, but we’re not. As a new manager I employed an incentive strategy that motivated me. Guess what? No one else wanted it. I thought, “OMG, I would have loved it.” But I was not dealing with ten “me’s”, I was dealing with 10 individuals. You have to understand what success looks like for them.” – Elaine Kunda, the dynamic CEO of B5 Media (home to such websites as The Grindstone)

She went on to share that she used the Briggs-Myers personality type to help her understand what types of work patterns, personalities and motivations she did see….so she could always hire her opposite so they could see what she didn’t. Smart!

This woman also realized that as she progressed in her career from being managed to being the CEO and manager, that she needed to understand people’s motivations.

“I would have been more understanding of other people’s positions. I realize now that I didn’t always know the whole story. Think about how you can help other people—because you need allies to get things done. And read a lot of books about how to manage people. One of my favorites is First Break All the Rules. I think at the end of the day everything still about dealing with people. I got out of the office politics so I could have more control and now I have my own office politics. And how do you motivate them to do thigns and make sure everyone is getting along. – Michelle Madhok, CEO, co-founder, SheFinds


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