Sunday, 25 September 2016

Separation of Affairs

Through out high school and university, one profound lesson I have learned is the separation of relationships. As an entrepreneur, you will encounter this a lot. Along my journey I have lost and made friends, learned that some people will come into your life for a specific purpose then leave, others are only there for as long as you are in the same country, city, town, area etc, others are there only for a season then leave, others are only there for as long as you both are for the same purpose or against the same thing, others will come and will be with you for then long hall. Whatever it is you must learn to discern your relationships because building a company is not easy and neither can you do it alone. You need your networks, your friends, acquaintances, family etc. In understanding that you need them, it's important to compartmentalize them so that expectations are not misunderstood and professionalism is not mistaken or mixed with friendship. There must clear distinction and expectations.
My experience in building a business with friends, acquaintance, I will be the first to say it gets very volatile and fragile if not handled with maturity and clear understanding. In the board room and within the business it must strictly be business but outside the business you are friends and acquaintances. Having made that abundantly clear, establish the need for communication of a specific nature and expectations to be set for both parties. I learned this lesson from my ex boss who could be tough to get along with in the office but outside the office he was your friend and would do anything to help you. It buffeled me at first and I was constantly at logger heads with him in the office but outside the office he helped me out alot. I quickly learned he was just very passionate about his business because he built it from scratch. I learned quickly that you need to separate relationships, environments as well as understand the dynamics of your relationships. At any company learn from those around you but know that your relationships may not go past that. Strive to work well together but know at some stage, you will go separate ways in life and understand that you are in that environment to learn and after that you may or may not ever see or speak to those people again or that your paths may cross, just always recall to keep the channels of communication open.
Along your journey you need to learn to discern friends, know who will help you in so far and who would be with you till the "fat lady sings". In learning this I learned to pick my team and know who was in it for the long hall, those was there because the business excited them and they wanted to be a part of it and those who just want to get paid. There is nothing wrong with people who only want some thing specific out of what you have or are offering ie want to get paid but its important to discern those people in order to establish expectations. This is extremely critical especially when you are just starting your business. At that very fragile point you have to create the synergy and the team that will take your business to the success levels and achievement arenas that you set out for, for the business.
When expectations are not clear and mixed with friendship, emotions tend to cloud perspective and direction and that's how bridges are burnt.Let business be business and friendship be friendship then go a step further and compartmentalize them in accordance with their roles in your life and business. I found that this allows you to determine how to handle emotions and when to engage logic in exchange of emotions. This also allows for better decision making and progressive understanding of relationships be it professional, intimate, family or informal. I won't say it's an easy undertaking but if you are going to build a business there will be plenty of frustrations with people, systems, expectations and it can feel pretty lonely, some times it may even feel like people don't want you to succeed, some times that maybe the case but most times it's a matter of different wants in life, different expectations from relationships be it business or informal,intimate, family or informal.
You will have people let you down at the very last minute when you needed them the most but that was business and you have to understand how to react at that point, with logic or emotion or both in synergy. Lots of money maybe at stake when it happens and it could be some thing you had been working towards for weeks. You need to learn to react by thanking him/her and begin mining through your contacts and other networks for help on the matter till it gets done. He/her will still remain your friend just not your business friend. Will you ever do business with him/her maybe not. But understand that you have to separate the two to allow for progress and maintain the channels of communication. Never burn any bridge, one day it may come in handy.

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