Gabriela Ceballos
CEO and Co-Founder
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Startup Contributor

People: The Difference Between Market Leaders and Laggards

By Gabriela Ceballos | Thu, 12/23/2021 - 10:06

Runners training for a race often seek those who are faster to train with as a means to improve their time. This is not necessarily in a competitive way; it just so happens that when you surround yourself with greatness, you’re actually closer to achieving it yourself.

In a business context, it's easy to see how your friends and associates influence you. Late entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn once said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Whether we realize it or not, we start behaving like them, thinking like them and even looking like them. That is why choosing the right people on your track to success means everything.

As entrepreneurs, we don’t have a manual or set of instructions to follow to make the dream happen. We’re bound to make mistakes and have some slips along the way. But one thing we can definitely do to better our odds is to choose wisely the team that is going to help us stay on track and get to the finish line.

So, who shall we keep close?

People who have already been in your footsteps and have already accomplished what you want to achieve are a great benefit to have around. They will help you prevent the mistakes they went through, can give you insights into what you’re about to face and can teach you the tips and tricks that will help you reach your goals faster. Seek them out and get some real face time with them. If that's not possible, consume their media and make them the “friends in your head.” For example, listen to their podcasts, read their books and follow them on social media.

We've definitely all heard the saying, “be the smartest person in the room.” As it turns out, when you're building solutions from the ground up, that is not always the best approach. We need people, whether they’re mentors, teachers, partners, employees, advisers or even investors, who challenge us and push us to be better. We need strategic partners who help us thrive and set even bigger expectations of ourselves. People who believe in us and challenge us to be our best selves are as important in shaping the sharpest team.

Building the A Team

Finding people with a specific skill set is relatively easy. With a simple search on any job platform you can find hundreds of candidates, although getting to that particular person that is going to help you and your company succeed is a hell of a roller coaster. The first employees that you will hire are essential to your growth and that is why the task must not be taken lightly.

Startups often look for the brightest talent out there, they hire based only on things such as IQ or knowledge, and that is a big mistake. You need to look for people who have strengths you lack. Someone who completes you and is aligned with your values and those of the company. This means it's not just a generic search anymore, it is actually way more specific because it has to have your company's essence involved. That's why it is way harder to find “the right person” for the job.

While searching, you must ask yourself if that particular candidate is going to reinforce and add to your culture; if they will really love their job and if they can actually be successful at it. You should evaluate what a candidate’s employee life cycle will be before extending an offer and also consider that you may benefit more from a generalist or someone who can wear many hats rather than someone with many years of experience in a specific area and with little willingness to learn.

Like an athlete who has become a world champion or an actress who has won an Oscar thanks to the team around them, choosing your friends, colleagues and employees is an essential step to your success and that of your company. Sometimes we don't have a say in meeting the people we meet, but we always have a say in the people we choose to have around us.

If you want to become your best self, start by looking at the people beside you, and determine if they’re the ones who are going to help you grow and who will help bring out the best version of yourself. Look for people who will push you beyond your limitations and who will celebrate your success as their own. Those who will fight for you and help you evolve.

Building solutions for entire regions is not an easy job. This journey to making the dream happen, comes with ups and downs, and having the right people next to you can help the ups outweigh the downs. It can be the difference between falling and picking yourself up or not being able to. Surround yourself with those who share your vision and those who are willing to go the extra mile with you

Photo by:   Gabriela Ceballos