Sunday, January 18, 2009

Getting your house in order

I'm getting close to the one year mark for Tandem Learning, and I've been thinking a lot about what I've learned in this first roller coaster of a year. One of the biggest lessons is one I'm just now learning and taking care of. 

People who know me well know that I'm a bit of a control freak. That said, I've learned over the years that there are things worth me controlling, and things that aren't worth it. A lot of the things that aren't worth it may be inconsequential, or in many cases, they are just outside of my scope of expertise and are better "controlled" by someone else who knows what they are doing. This is where trust comes in. 

You have to surround yourself with smart, capable rockstars to be successful and to allow yourself to delegate confidently. You have to have good, challenging communication with the people you work closely with, and you have to trust them to do their jobs without you looking over their shoulders. That said, you have to have systems in place for them to report back to you on the state of affairs in a way that you can keep things on track if they start going astray. 

In some areas, I did a fine job of this in the last year. But there were some new areas in starting Tandem Learning that I really had no clue and had to rely more heavily on others than I'm honestly comfortable with. Legal issues, insurance, IT set up and support, bookkeeping and accounting...all new things that I had to put trust in others to handle for me. Some of these relationships worked really well and my leap of faith was rewarded (did I mention how much I like my sharkweasel?). But there were some other areas where I just never got comfortable.

SO...the lesson I learned? If you don't feel comfortable, make a change. Perhaps more than anything, I have more confidence in trusting my gut. I let a few things go on too long this year, in part because I wanted to trust the people I was working with and in part because I didn't know what I didn't know. But from the beginning, there were some things I just didn't feel 100% comfortable with and now that I'm taking control of those things, I feel so much better.