“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

I strongly believe anyone can learn any skill given the right guidelines, tools, mentoring and time. It is not easy to help or teach someone to acquire a new skill. Ask your teacher how she got through her day while you were in her class. God knows I am blessed with many teachers and mentors who took the time to show me the ropes and helped me get better at many things. Believe me it was a struggle for them, I was not the sharpest cookie in the room. I get extremely frustrated when people don’t want to spend the time to help or mentor or teach their colleagues, interns and their own customers because it is hard, it is painful and the other person does not pick up the skill as fast as they expect them to. To all those out there thinking that way, I say rubbish. There is nothing more important than building your team and helping your team, there is nothing that a company can do that is more important than training and building a world class team. I understand the frustration of those who have the experience, they focus on the efficiency side of things, it is efficient if they can get a team member who has the same experience or background as them. It is easier to get through the tasks, there is no struggle, there is no conflict or the effort needed to understand, explain and be patient with people. It is hard, remember with People, fast is slow and slow is fast.

While you are a startup, resources are limited, you need to do more with less, you will not be able to recruit the smartest girl in town or the smartest guy because the smart ones are not sitting idle, they are busy with other things and they are usually compensated handsomely for their time… because they are smart and can get stuff done. So, how does a startup compete for talent in a tight market? this is an age old question and I think there is a way. What if you could get people who believe in what you do but don’t have the right skills? well, you get them on-board and give them the mentoring, time and tools to see if they can go through the struggle. I know I know if you are teaching people how are you going to build the startup… well, no one said it was easy if it was then everyone would do it really well. A Startup is an experiment, you need to experiment with people as well. So, the next time you are planning to hire someone, take a chance, wait for the one who believes in what you are doing and is willing to volunteer their hearts and their minds. Give them the tools, methods, mentoring and time, they just might surprise you.

For those who are mentors and teachers, there is nothing more nobler than providing a service that helps your brother or sister in need. I believe very strongly if you want to learn something or get better at something there is no better way than to teach it. The minute you assume the role of a teacher/mentor you see things differently, your paradigm changes, only if you have an open mind and are willing to volunteer your heart and your mind. Take a chance on yourself, spend the time to teach your colleague a skill that you want to get better at, as I said before you might just surprise yourself and learn something about yourself.