Sometimes you need to trust… and follow

by Guy Ralfe on June 11, 2009

Entrepreneurs are typically leaders. Right?

Yes and No.

They are leaders, Yes.

They are followers too.

Knowing when to lead and when to follow will make a world of difference.

Actually, before we talk about entrepreneurship, let me take an example from the Corporate world.

Case in point: An ERP implementation.

Every large project (in this case, an ERP implementation) requires a client side team and this is nearly always delegated by the C-level management that made the purchase decision to an operations functions of their choice. Operations functions are based on very well defined procedures and repeated practices resulting in a function with a high resistance to change. A project by contrast is defined as change, yet we routinely ask the designated operations function to lead, in an ERP solution’s case, one of the biggest project undertakings a company can make.

Implementation consultants have a lot of domain and implementation expertise and know the objectives of the whole project not just the topic of discussion at a point in time. Often it is very difficult for the internal organization’s team to visualize the place they need to get the organization to and then spend many expensive hours defending or fighting for fairly mundane, obsolete or invaluable configurations, that will often never be used, resembling what they have today and not what they need tomorrow.

These Tug-O-War contests get more and more intense as the client side team feel threatened, unheard or the consultant’s credibility questioned. Projects are uncomfortable for all by nature as they involve a lot of change and adaptation of expectations which is made difficult by the backgrounds that the two sides come from.

Successful projects are thus born out of the trust between the vendor team and client teams.

Same is the case with entrepreneurship, really.

As an entrepreneur you will need great vision and leadership, but you will likely also need help through partners delivering some of your projects. With these partners I challenge you to allow them to lead you to your mutual goal, you will get more out of your project where you can offer them the opportunity to take you somewhere you can’t imagine rather than to another side of the same rut you are in.

Go feel what it is like to follow and see how much you can learn with the right mindset!

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