Whether you are running your own business or moving up the corporate ladder, there is a line-in-the-sand moment where, like in the movie The Wizard of Oz, what you are doing shifts from black and white to full technicolour. That reach is from the simple to the complex and it is here, more than ever, that finding the right people to collaborate with is critical.

Staff, systems, IT or IP issues, the question will remain the same. How do you manage to reach the Emerald City – to keep your eyes on the big picture – without straying into the minutiae of doing everything?

There is a line from the book version of The Wizard of Oz when Glinda says to Dorothy:

“You’ve always had the power, my dear; you just had to learn it for yourself.”

In this instance, what I am referring to is teaching yourself new habits. When you first start a new enterprise, or as a lower member of the management food chain, you are completely self-reliant – because you have to be. As a small business owner, generally speaking, the funds (and the office space) aren’t available to employ others to set up e-mail, organise flights, chase new business, or book events. You are all of the business functions in one very tired package.

The HR part of you would be appalled if it weren’t being firmly sat on by the business development component and the courier room.

Then things start to grow and mature, and finally employing help is within reach. This is where the new habits come in. You have a vision. That vision has always been there, but now it is a reality rather than a mirage, and to bring it to true life you have to embrace vulnerability, and trust, by allowing others to assist you in the scope of it.

There is no point in having people working with you if you are not going to empower them in their work.  You must allow yourself to depend on their skills, and value them. You are not a one-person all-singing, all-dancing cabaret act anymore. You are a member of a team and you are a leader of a team.

After all, Dorothy had a lion, a tin man, a scarecrow and Toto the puppy on her side; don’t you need some extra heart, courage, brains and grit too?

Change like this is also about recognising that your own influences may need to change. To paraphrase Marshall Goldsmith, ‘what got you here won’t necessarily get you there’. You may have to step it up in terms of your circle of influence. You may even find that some friends, business colleagues and those with whom you have collaborated with in the past no longer understand what you are trying to achieve, or may not have the skillsets you need for your next stage of growth.

This doesn’t make you a wicked witch (or wizard). What it means is a recognition of self and that you are on a journey.  As long as you feel comfortable in your own value system and behave in an ethical manner, then the attitude of others is just that – their own. Your expansion, reach and growth won’t necessarily win you hearts and minds one hundred percent of the time. You will encounter a lack of understanding from some, and you may need skills and a level of operating ability that is higher than some people are capable of providing. This is why it is so important to surround yourself with a team whom you know will be as excited about your own long-term plans as you are – and respect their input.

Empower yourself, and you will empower your team. Empower your team, and you will empower your business.  Empower your business and you will empower your growth.

That Emerald City will be yours for the taking in full, glorious technicolour – minus any sign of monkeys, flying or otherwise.


Janine Garner is a networking, collaboration & leadership expert | Networking Author, Speaker, Trainer, Mentor.

‘Its Who You Know’ is Janine’s latest book on focusing your networks to work better for you.

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