He really wanted to find those donkeys you guys
I chose to take Creative Founder because I wanted to stop faking it. I’ve worked in small to gigantic companies over the last decade, and I’ve played around with lean methods before. So I’m familiar with the terms and some of the methods, but I wanted to live them, not just nod my head when they come up.
“חיפש אתונות ומצא מלוכה”
The Hebrew idiom above originates in the biblical story of Saul, who went looking for his father’s stray donkey and instead he found monarchy — he became the king of Israel. It stands for the idea of serendipity.
I know it’s a worn out cliche, but as much as I learned about the business world, creating your own company, getting out of the building, lean startup methods, market sizing & revenue models, customer empathy maps, getting the right product using the lean canvas and business model canvas, and all of these amazing tools that existed just under my nose the entire time, what I learned about most was myself.
I really did not want to be the leader of the group for this semester-long project. I have other projects going on that have to take precedence. But — I often find myself as the reluctant leader, especially when working with people that are a decade younger than I am. I am unfortunately a control freak, I’m good at checklists and I’m good at getting good grades in school (the secret is: just do everything on the list of deliverables. And then break at least one rule). I’m not very good at stepping back, if I think I’d do a good job.
So I had to learn to lean back and trust my teammates and that is not easy. I had to first let go of performing my idea of a perfect job every week. Then I had to let go of convincing people. And organizing meetings. And project-managing.
And then I realized I was left with nothing. I wasn’t stepping back as much as I was stepping away.
Christina have been giving me advice throughout the entire semester, but it finally sunk in when I read the book she gave us — The 5 Dysfunction Of A Team. This book really changed how I see things, and how I see myself in a group situation.
I was skipping the bottom two parts of the pyramid and expecting the top part of the pyramid to work somehow. I realized I am afraid of vulnerability, and that creates a mistrust in the team. I don’t know how to let go. (I even considered and reconsidered admitting in writing that I’m a control freak above).
I was either doing a whole part of the project or I was completely uninvolved, when I could have used my experience and knowledge to lend assistance to the other team members, without taking over.
I’m getting away from the topic at hand but what I am trying to answer is this question posed by Christina:
What would you do when you go out to to the world again?
My answer is listen, and facilitate.
I've done it before, in my previous jobs but also in this project — when the team really hit one sore spot that we couldn’t overcome. It was grueling and I got after that 3 hour workshop so tired that I fell asleep on the floor. But I’ve done it well and it was so worth it.
So while being the lead or not being the lead, I can and should ask questions. I can and should lend a hand and I can facilitate healthy and productive conversations. I can shine some light on the path rather than pull and push on it.
So what have I learned? I learned that I have to learn some more.