A recent article in Forbes asked several experts what they did when faced with difficult business problems. Hands down, they all agreed that asking for help was a good thing. The three agreed with the following:
- Cultivate Relationships
- Don’t Face It Alone
- Reframe the Problem
Having worked with multiple entrepreneurs over the years, what happens to most in their early years is they think they need to do it all. For a variety of reasons, they believe it’s how it’s done, and they are driven. They believe their business is unique and most just tough it out. It’s only after talking with others in their same situation do, they realize the best solutions come from sharing and working with others – not from sheer fortitude.
Cultivating those relationships that you may need down the road should start early in your entrepreneurial journey. You will not have all the answers and there are experts in every corner that will be able to help when you need it. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, in fact, it’s a sign of strength to know when you need help.
Regardless of whether one of these relationships can help, you will need others at least as sounding boards. Good leaders know that sometimes just talking about the issue is the first step to solving it. Sometimes thinking over the issue in one’s own head just leads to more puzzles or circular thinking. Talking it out with someone else, particularly someone who has been through something similar will often open new avenues of thinking.
Lastly, reframing the issue will always help you see it from a completely different perspective. It’s optimal to collaborate with someone else for this. In most cases, the best inventions and innovations were created with different thinking than what generated the original.
It is not a sign of brilliance or strength to solve problems on your own – good leaders know this. Those leaders who do not know this are stuck in a cocoon of their own making. They start to create a narrative that supports their beliefs and then surround themselves with those who agree – or are afraid to question it. This unintentionally supports the “brilliant” hypothesis and shuts out anything else. Ultimately, this will lead to less than optimal ideas and solutions. No one is more brilliant alone, no one is perfect and great solutions come through collaboration with others. Good leaders know this.