Who Are You?
Who are you? Where do you fit in to your business? Here are a couple of questions that I talk with entrepreneurs about when we discuss their business and their place in the business. When the business consists of you, a card table, and some workspace it is not hard to figure out who you are. You are the CEO, CIO, CFO, COO and any other “C” level title that you can think of.
However, as the business starts to grow or as we start to think strategically, answering the question of who are you and where do you best fit is vital to the growth of your business.
The reason that it is important to know who you are and where you fit within the business; is that every successful business requires people with four distinct skill sets.
- The Innovator – This person has found a better way of doing X. The innovator might be someone who is technical or it could be someone who understands that there is a better process than what exists today. The innovator does not need to be a strong technical person but they do need to have the creativity to see that there is a better way of doing or making things.
- The Operator – This individual has a strong skill set in understanding processes and driving for results. Operations people thrive on setting up production processes, looking for effective ways to deliver the product or solution within in the constraints of the business.
- The Marketer – Marketer’s know how to reach out, build connections, educate the market about the advantages of the product and most importantly get individuals to buy the product. This person’s key function in the startup phase is help move product and gain sales by getting in front of potential clients.
- The Banker – The banker is the one who keeps a close eye on the cash in and cash out equation. Out of the four skill sets listed, the banker is the one that is loved and hated the most. They are loved when the cash flow statement is positive and growing and they are hated when they tell the other areas they are cut off or have to reduce expenditures.
If you are struggling to determine where you best fit within the business, I recommend that you do the following:
Check with a mentor – A good mentor is going to provide you with honest feedback about your strengths and weaknesses. They should know you well enough to understand your personality and the areas in business where you not only find enjoyment but also where you will bloom.
Take a personality or skill assessment – By taking a skill or personality assessment, you will not find out anything revolutionary about yourself. However, you will receive confirmation on what your gut or intuition is telling you your natural role should be. I recently wrote a blog about trusting your intuition titled Your Hidden Decision Making Asset: Intuition. (You can click on the title or search the archives for the blog.)
Ask other founders – Discuss with your team which person should fill each role. If the team has known each other before the business started or if they have worked together for some time, then the team will know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The team will know which role each person should take on.
Coach’s Wrap Up
As a business starts to grow and mature, business and team leaders can do one of two things when it comes to defining their role in the business. 1. They can be strategic about the role they will have. 2. They will find their role through trial and error. Smart business leaders know that choosing their role in a start up or new business averts a lot of wasted time, hard feelings and working outside of your core strengths.
Have you ever witnessed a group that failed to define their roles? What was the result? How long and how painful was it for that group to find where they could contribute the most to the young organization?