Welcome! Within these pages, I will explore the many facets of compelling ideas I've encountered with the hope that you will find inspiration for your own life. I encourage you to explore some of the Big Ideas that I support with my time and energy. Also, check out the Spark Chamber where we can explore possibilities together.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Giving advice and helping others

When Brad Feld gives a piece of advice, Ideapreneurs should take notice.  Brad, who wrote the book Startup Communities, Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City, recently blogged that you can easily identify leaders by giving people assignments.  In the blog, Brad notes that when someone reaches out to him for help, he turns around and gives them a simple assignment that may require a little work (less than 30 minutes) but will help him identify the best way to help. Brad shares that he gets three types of responses:
  • He never hears back from 50% of the help-seekers,
  • 25% respond by literally doing what he asks (the doers),  and
  • 25% make something happen well beyond the original assignment (the leaders).

Brad will help the folks in either of the last two groups, but he is particularly inspired by the third group and will track the leaders' progress over time..

To me, there are two important takeaways:
  1. The first is a refinement to the Business of Yes.  Some people have asked me how one can possibly say "yes" to everything.  To be clear, in my original post I do not suggest that you should say "Yes" to everything.  Indeed, that would eventually violate the rule to "never over-promise."  As your plate starts to fill up with opportunities, it is important to discern what tasks to pursue.  Brad's advice is one answer. Consider giving out an assignment to help identify the doers and leaders.  Then, say "yes" to them!  I do this very thing, and it has wonderful results.  On the one hand, I try to give a piece of advice that, if followed, should advance the help-seeker's effort, while on the other hand, when someone follows my advice it encourages me to help out even more.  A win-win.
  2. The second is cautionary to anyone who seeks help from others.  If people are willing to share their wisdom with you, you ought to pursue it and report back to them. They want to know how you made out.  They would love to know if it helped.  They even want to know when it doesn't. This may seem like common-courtesy, but as Brad noted, a full 50% of help-seekers don't do it (My own experience pegs this closer to 75%, but I'm no Brad Feld).
These are important pearls of wisdom for the Ideapreneurs of the world.

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