I had the opportunity to work with a team of passionate and skilled people, who helped build a car for a well-known international brand. The build took around four months which included sourcing the body, technical, exterior and interior work as well as branding. The car was then used in the launch of a new mobile phone shop. It was decided at the launch event that a world record attempt was to be made. What record was challenged you ask? ‘How many people can fit into the old school Mini’. The record was broken with a total of 25 people fitting into the construct.
Here are four leadership lessons I learned during the project.
1Contribute to the Concept
The idea of putting a Mini into a store was not mine, it was the clients. However, that being said, just because an idea isn’t yours doesn’t mean that you can’t work with it, add to it and make it great. You need to be ready to contribute to your client’s or team’s ideas. Apart from the entire build our contribution to the concept was turning the car into a photo booth with lights, camera, touch screen monitor and printer for action.
It is here that we can see that leaders don’t have to have all the ideas, but instead be willing to work with people who do. The idea does not have to always be yours to be great.
Great leaders bring great ideas out of great people!
2Run the Risk
I had little idea what I was doing when I was awarded the project and I went in almost blind, but I took the risk which paid off. Through creating an opportunity for myself and other people to be a part of a project, many of us got to meet our Entrepreneurial Hero. I found that through taking this risk, I was surprised what I learnt about business, myself and the character I built at the same time.
Risk isn’t something you take without cost, it’s also something you don’t lose without cost!
During the proposal phase I didn’t have the opportunity to meet the client, I just spoke to them via phone and email. They strongly requested that I reduce the price even though they liked everything I suggested. I knew then that it was up to me to stand strong and stick to my numbers. It would have been easy to “discount” the price, to get the job.
If you legitimately believe that what you are offering comes in at what you are selling it at, then stand strong. What you charge says a lot about you. Just make very sure you deliver a great product.
Never discount price at the risk of discounting quality!
4Plan and Partner
Planning is key to hitting deadlines, if you don’t have a clear plan you will end up running behind schedule and putting the cart before the horse. Deadlines tend to be “flexible” as they say, and then everything is always “urgent”. Make sure you have a clear dashboard that indicates what needs to be done and by when.
It’s not so much about time management as it is about priority management. You won’t be able to do everything yourself, so partner with people who are better at doing what they do than you will ever be. Get people who know their ‘how’s’ and ‘what’s’, which will release you to do what you are good at doing. When you have the right plans and right partners you won’t have panic.
“Risk isn’t something you take without cost, it’s also something you don’t lose without cost!” – Wes Boshoff