People Make Things Happen, Teams of People Make Great Things Happen

Recorded on 2011-01-06

This post was partially inspired by a tweet from @RevRunWisdom: “The biggest mistake you can make in this world is trying to do everything yourself #teamwork” and partially from me realizing that although I’m pretty good at most things, I’m not THE EXPERT of most anything.

More and more lately I am coming to realize the value and importance of working within a team and finding the right people to fill that team. I am a quick-learner and capable of doing most anything reasonably well, so I have spent a lot of my life trying to do things myself. I usually do a pretty good job, too, no matter what it is.

Even though I can get a decent result doing it myself, it usually takes me four times as long and is not quite near the quality that a professional or someone much more suited to the task could accomplish. Beyond that, when it is all said and done, I have no one to share my success or failure with, no other ideas to consider and implement, no other skill sets and knowledge to learn and grow from.

I have built websites, iPhone apps, conceptualized businesses, painted, woodworked, fixed my own car, etc. and I do a good job because I am proud of the work I do, but the things I have built have been limited by my skill sets, my mindsets, my capacity and patience to learn a new skill (as well as the apparent future value of expending the time to learn that skill), and my time. A team with the right people in it destroys a lot of those limits.

The point is, you can only do what you can do. You can only learn and grow from others.

Any product should be a well-oiled system (be it a business, electronic device, website etc.) and you need experts working on each component for that to become true. You are probably not an expert of each of those components. Sorry.

Sure, you could probably build it near as good as them. You could probably do it cheaper (although, your time IS worth money). You may not have to split the fruits of your labour with anyone, but you also won’t have anyone to split the crappy bits with, either.

As Hugh MacLeod says, seek out the exceptional minds. Pay them well, inspire them, work with them. A lot more can be built a lot more quickly with a team of people, than you can do yourself.