by Lorraine Ball
I love running my own business, getting to do things “my way” … most of the time. You see, in order to be successful, I need to also listen to the opinions of others. Who are these “others?” They are people who can complement my weaknesses and have skills to fill my blind spots. They are the Yang to my Yin.
What Is Yin-Yang?
With roots dating back to China in 1300 BCE, Yin-yang refers to a concept where opposite forces are seen as interconnected and counterbalancing.
Together the two halves make a whole, and while one is mostly dark and the other is mostly light there is a little bit of each in the other.
Yin, represents darkness, femininity, passivity, and the earth. Yang represents light, masculinity, activity, and the heavens.
Do you have a Business Yin-Yang?
Whether it is your next hire or a member of your advisory board, bring people into your circle who are not just like you. Follow these principals to create your Business Yin-Yang. Remember even someone who seems to be your complete opposite, should share some common ground with you.
For example, I tend to see myself as more of a Yang, positive, active, and always looking ahead. I need a yin who is more grounded and practical to help me think through the obstacles that might lie ahead. So while their more methodical approach may make me crazy sometimes, the shared interest in growing entrepreneurial enterprises gives us a common language and starting point.
How do you find your other half?
You will need to start with a little introspection and make a list of all your weaknesses. Be honest, or this just won’t work. Then pick a weakness or two you know you aren’t likely to change. For example, I am always going to be bored by the fine details of contracts, procedures, etc. I can promise, make resolutions, and try to focus on the extremely fine print, but I am not going to. So finding someone who is the opposite, who dot’s every “i” and crosses every “t” is a good candidate for my other half.
Here are a few more ideas, but this is not exhaustive by any means.
- Do you tend to work quickly? Great! You can get a lot of things done in a short amount of time. You need to have someone on your team who is accurate and will catch the mistakes you make along the way.
- Are you an introvert, perhaps someone who prefers to work alone? You need an extrovert in your life, someone who enjoys getting out, meeting people, and managing staff issues.
- Optimists (like me) believe every project will be easy, every client will pay on time, and everything can be completed in the time remaining. While the positive attitude is good, find someone to raise a red flag when they see a potential obstacle in the path.
- As a visionary you can inspire others to action, but you can also be blinded by the big picture as you focus on the objectives and general path. Look for someone who sees the steps and enjoys building the process.
- Are you a stickler for details, with a high need for perfection? When you finally finish your product will be awesome, but the opportunity will pass you by. Find someone who will help you launch a minimally viable product, get feedback and refine again..
Be prepared to fight a bit, listen a bit, and learn a lot!
Once you start bringing people into your business who have different styles, perspectives, and talents be prepared to compromise. You are going to bump into the conflicting opinions. If you commit to building a complete business, you will need to face some uncomfortable conversations.
There will be tough questions to answer. The ideas you can defend are the ones worth pursuing. This works when you approach each conflict by looking for the common ground. It is there, somewhere. And finally, you will need to accept the idea you don’t always know the best answer but you can find it with the Yin to your Yang.