It's easy to take a self-centered approach to success. You do what you have to do and you'll get results, so says conventional wisdom. Besides, there are too many variables in life that can make or break you. Your own performance is potentially the only constant you can rely on, right?
There isn't anything necessarily wrong with such a mindset. That type of thinking, however, should never lead to such a strong sense of tunnel vision that considering the attributes of others becomes irrelevant, especially if you're in a position of leadership, says one successful businessman.
"Talented co-founders who offer complementary skills are critical," Naveen Jain told Entrepreneur's Nina Zipkin. They have expertise in specific areas you don't. I am consistently skeptical of executives who think they can do it all. Mature executives have made a clear assessment of what they are good at and where they need to rely on the skills of others."
Jain is a serial entrepreneur and a veteran of the Seattle tech scene. He has founded three companies, including his most recent venture, Moon Express, with which he's quite literally shooting for the stars. Jain was probed by Entrepreneur.com on the things he would change about his career had he known the lessons he's eventually taken in today, and the Indian-American immediately pointed toward team-building as an area of great importance.
And while some might be apprehensive towards the idea of relying on others, Jain indicates that surrounding oneself with the right people may be more about choosing to rely on a personal ability to identify talent in others.
"Successful entrepreneurs find great talent, add them to their team and continue to give credit where credit is due."
Even the most egotistical of entrepreneurs might find it hard to argue against Jain's point, after all, a simple look at history supports what he says. Anyone who is or has been considered a great, in any field, will ultimately be looked at and lauded for their own exceptional skills. What is undeniable though, is that the heights they reached with their respective organization might not have been achievable had they not been surrounded by colleagues who were better than them in some respect or another.
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball ever to live, but part of what made the Bulls such a tough team to face was the fact that they had an even better defender and rebounder in Dennis Rodman.
Mark Zuckerberg is quite simply an entrepreneurial prodigy -- he still has yet to hit the 30-year-old mark -- but his COO Sheryl Sandberg is the one who brought the money into the company and is regarded as the woman who monetized Facebook.
Every accomplished individual will always deserve praise for what they've, well, accomplished. Few are likely to reach success, however, without surrounding themselves with people whom are worthy of just as much of an applause. It's important then that everyone, especially entrepreneurs, keep in mind that identifying skills in others is just as important as developing their own.
“You should never be afraid to hire the best talent – someone smarter than you in many different areas," Anesa Chaibi, President and CEO of HD Supply, told Forbes. "Surrounding yourself with those individuals will make you collectively (leader and team) be that much better.”
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