September 26, 2012


The NBA is a perfect example of a new phenomenon happening more regularly: Superteams.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh were harshly criticized (me being one of them) when they left their former teams to join Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat. Players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan all went on record saying they would never recruit each other to join forces. 

This trend may be highlighted by the NBA, but it's spread into the business world as well. Joint ventures and co-founders are doing business together daily while strengthening their companies with added talent. Let's look at a couple of reasons why this is happening:    

Collaboration: When there is more combined talent overall, there are more strengths to work with and it's easier to eliminate blind spots. Creativity increases dramatically with more brainpower in the room. Alternative options are looked at because each person has a different worldview.

Reliance: It's much easier to focus on growth when the burden is shared. Responsibility is divvied up so no one person has to carry the entire load. When one person is down, there's someone else to pick that person up.

Generational: Millennials in particular prefer to join forces and collaborate. It's a fundamental recipe for success. They are hard-wired to do things together. Rarely do you see any single 20-something founders of companies.

Think of it as team leadership. Shared resources usually bring about a better product/service. Although it may be a concept accepted more readily by Millennials, overall its an idea that works to everyone's benefit. Long gone are the days of the lone ranger. Our egos may push us to be the superhero (Ironman), but why run solo when you can join forces and become a Superteam (Avengers)? 

Look deeply into your network and ask "Who are my potential business partners?" You can accomplish so much more with talented people around you, so start reaching out. You don't even have to figure out what you're going to do together, that may just come out of brainstorming! So what Superteam will you be a part of?

September 19, 2012


Guest Post by Charles Lee

Collaboration is both a mystery and a miracle. It comes in all shapes, textures, and sizes. Collaboration is as unpredictable as the future and ever changing like the wind. It lures and dismisses us without warning.

Collaboration is truly a complex endeavor. It’s complex because it involves complex beings – yes, people like you and me! Collaboration is neither static nor guaranteed. There are a million reasons why one might not collaborate with another. For some, it may their lack of time and resources. For others, their hesitancy is rooted in the fear of uncertainty, risk, or lack of knowledge. These and many more like them are all legitimate reasons and warrant consideration before entering a collaborative environment.

Here are some of the common ways people view the nature of collaboration:

Collaboration as Option – Some view collaboration as a nice option for enhancing one’s own endeavor. In this view, collaboration is something one adds to his/her work when conveniently available but isn’t considered necessary for one’s goal.

Collaboration as Connecting – Some view collaboration as simply as “connecting” with others. It doesn’t entail too much work outside of getting together. In this view, collaboration is mostly an intellectually satisfying experience with minimal commitment.

Collaboration as Want – Many view collaboration as something they want. They know it’s extremely beneficial to moving forward in their endeavors, but find themselves questioning how it actually works. Based on my interaction with leaders, I think most are in this category of thought. They really do want to collaborate but feel a rising sense of pessimism because of previous experiences and lack the energy to seriously try again.

Collaboration as Necessity – This is a minority group of people who view collaboration as an absolute necessity in their pursuits. Despite some of the disappointments of past experiences, people who hold this perspective choose to open themselves up to new opportunities, even at the risk of being let down again. These individuals choose to learn from their past “failures” to become better collaborators and work intentionally towards paradigms, systems and arrangements that produce great partnerships.

Understanding how to perceive collaboration is a good starting point in deciding whether or not to participate. In my experience, there appears to be some foundational principles that guide healthy instances of collaboration. These principles are in no way perfect, but they do help to form productive interaction and “co-labor” (a key to co/laboration). For example, a practical way to minimize unnecessary complexity is to state upfront as to what kind of collaboration you think you are entering. Getting things down on paper, even if it’s a simple one-sheet agreement, can make a world of difference. Minimally, you and the person(s) you are collaborating with will have a point of reference for conversation and potential refinement of arrangement.

I know for many driven by a “relational” posture may view this as mechanical and artificial. Nevertheless, the potential awkwardness of creating a mutually agreed upon agreement is far better to experience than the level of frustration that often arises when this is not considered.

Another principle to embrace is for those involved to focus on actionable steps. Think big and act small. Creating milestones that are clear and linked to accountability will be key. Ideas are only as good as one’s ability to implement. If your meetings are not filled with actionable items, you may want to reconsider having meetings in the first place. Incremental implementation is what ultimately helps us reach our goals. Keep moving things forward together.

There’s no doubt that collaboration is both powerful and necessary in our world. How to go about co-laboring is something we all need to help each other on. Collaboration truly involves mutual “labor” and commitment to work. Developing one’s skill-set in collaboration requires intentional pursuit and life-long commitment. Viewing collaboration as necessity will open up a world of opportunities and perspectives that would not have been possible without it.

September 12, 2012

How Busy Are You?

“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” – Alfred A. Montapert
If you ask people "How's it going?" chances are they'll say "Busy."

What does that mean? That answer is used like a badge of honor these days.

If you're not busy, does that mean something is wrong with you?

What if you took pride in not being busy? Meaning prioritizing your time to spend it on who and what you value.

Maybe people equate success with being busy. In our fast world, carving out chunks of time can be looked down upon. If you're not doing something, you must be wasting your time, right?! 

At the heart of the matter, what are you moving towards? If you're busy because you're chasing something that is significant, great! If you're busy just for busy sake, maybe you should take a step back and reevaluate how you are spending your time. 

Time is finite and depending on how you frame it, there's way too much or never enough. In the end, what really matters: how busy you were or how you spent your time?  

Think about that. How busy are you?

September 5, 2012

The Myth of "Slow Change"

Guest post by Josh Allan Dykstra

It takes a long time to build anything worthwhile.

·      Building a house = slow.
·      Building a relationship = slow.
·      Building trust = slow.
·      Building a great company = slow.
·      Growing a tree = slow.
·      Writing a book = slow.
·      Recording an album = slow.
·      Painting a painting = slow.

This isn’t really all that surprising. What’s really interesting is how quickly these things can go away.

·      A house can be demolished with a few explosives.
·      A relationship can be destroyed in an instant.
·      Trust can disappear in a moment.
·      A company can dissolve without warning.
·      A tree can be uprooted by a big storm.
·      A manuscript, a recording tape, or a painting can be thrown in a fire (thankfully this is getting harder to do with digital media).

There are a couple of lessons here, I think.

First, we should probably be more patient. Growing something good always takes time.

Second, most of us operate under the myth that all change is slow. But that’s only one kind of change: The “growing” kind.

If you want quick change, all you need to do is get rid of something. That kind of change is FAST, and it’s not always as destructive as my examples here. (For example, get rid of your performance reviews.)