ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” –Isaac Newton
World-renowned 17th Century English Physicist and Mathematician par excellence, Newton has done much more for humanity in terms of his scientific studies than any other individual of his time. He had none of the modern-day conveniences to support his initiatives.
There were no research papers in existence to support his beliefs. No expert had ever propounded the same theories before Newton. He had extremely limited scope of collaboration anywhere beyond his immediate surroundings and of course a pittance for resources. Still, Newton gave us so many outstandingly valuable studies like the ‘laws of motion’ and ‘universal gravitation’ that still stand unchallenged to this day. He is also credited with building the first ever ‘reflecting telescope’ as well as studying the speed of sound.
Without going into Newton’s life history, it can very safely be deduced that his own research was born out of his personal dealings with others carrying similarly challenging ideas. It kept feeding his urge to study ever deeper the subjects that he held so dear to his heart. His research comprised of such vastly dissimilar subjects like Physics, Astronomy, Economics, Alchemy, Mathematics, Philosophy, and Mechanics.
How could one individual, over 300 years ago, attain so much perfection in his research and give theories that remain unchallenged by the brightest brains in this age of the Internet, Satellites and all the advanced technologies? Newton found his strength in, and gave all the credit to, those that kept his company.
Looking at the above scenario, it is really not hard to assume that he kept company of those equally keen to learn what he was also trying to establish. If it were not true, he would have ended up living the life of an unknown.
Newton gave the credit for his exceptional success in so many different subjects of study, so many different fields, to the giants on whose shoulders he stood in order to look far. For all practical purposes, their continued support and inspiration kept him forging ahead in an untiring fashion.
To come back to this age and succeed the way Newton did, we too need to build teams of giants on whose shoulders we could stand with pride and confidence to look far. The question comes back in the form of five W’s of Who, What, When, Where and Why.
Who are the people you should trust to be your strongest supporters? How could they help or assist you with your arduous trek to the goal? Try to identify four or five like-minded individuals. Gauge their knowledge in the specific field of your choice. Decide what kind and size of an organization you would like to develop or create. Once you have them short-listed, start the process of elimination so you could have one or two trustworthy supporters along for the ride. It makes no sense to carry extra baggage of less than fully committed partners that could easily leave you in the lurch when faced with a challenge.
What qualities, skills and other capabilities would you need to infuse the highest level of trust and confidence in each member of your TEAM? For me ‘TEAM’ has a very special significance. We could look at a team in one of two highly productive forms: Together Everybody Achieves More or Together Everyone Acquires Money! Take your pick…
When going gets tough or a challenging situation raises its head, proper remedial measures need to be put into place so both your message and reasoning percolate down in a sensible fashion. You must be able to exercise caution and assume the role of an authoritative individual to bring order out of chaos. Your intellect, wisdom, and persuasive skills will all come into play in defusing such a situation. Be prepared to go the length to maintain course against all odds.
Where authority fails, consensus works like magic; try it for a change and notice the positive results. Using force often causes discontent of rebellion. When going gets tough, companions’ commitment to your cause is bound to come into question.
Use discretion and put together all your soft skills. Discussion can often bring out the main reason of sliding support to your cause. Request for help, not begging, is another effective medium that motivates others to reconsider their position. At times, incentives help garner support when stakes get higher but never let them take the shape of a bribe, as this will surely backfire. Maintaining open lines of communication in a team helps avoid such situations from emerging.
Why is your project immensely important and why should anyone pay any attention to your cause? How would you compensate individual team members that provide much needed support at your time of need?
Do you have any second line of defense or an alternative plan-of-action in mind in the event your initial approach becomes untenable?
Are you enthusiastic enough to transmit the same energy to your team as well? If not, rework your approach, make necessary changes, do a trial run before going full steam. Once started, it is your responsibility to ensure there are no loose ends and/or weak links anywhere.
Finding the answer to the above five W’s can empower even the most stressed out C.E.O. in his/her quest to outlast and outshine the competition every which way possible! The TEAM so gathered will act the giants on whose shoulders you will stand to make your mark!
TRY IT, YOU MIGHT LIKE IT!