It’s been more than 20 years since Stephen R. Covey wrote his inspiring national bestseller and what has become the definitive work on personal leadership and success, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Fortunately, the wisdom he so ably put forth those many years ago is today every bit as relevant on a number of levels.
Take for example the concept of interdependence and how it might relate to you as an entrepreneur. It’s no secret that someone with the inclination to own his or her own small business is by nature an independent sort. That independence is a prized possession of many, as it speaks to an innate ability to self-motivate and achieve set goals. However, according to Covey, that sense of wanting and needing to do things all on your own and answer to no one but yourself can get you into trouble, especially if you intend to grow your business to any significant degree.
According to Covey, the level of personal and interpersonal effectiveness we exhibit in life is a direct result of our internalization and integration of the Seven Habits and their ability to propel us along a “Maturity Continuum” of sorts. Individuals grow and progress along this Continuum from dependence to independence to interdependence in a variety of dimensions―physical, mental, emotional, to name only a few.
“Dependence,” Covey says, “is the paradigm of you―you take care of me; you come through for me; you didn’t come through; I blame you for the results. Independence is the paradigm of I―I can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant; I can choose. Interdependence is the paradigm of we―we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something great together.”
As an independently minded business owner, perhaps of many years, you may be set in your own ways and convinced that you can do everything on your own, and the truth is you may be right given the current size of your operation. But if you have any hope of growing your business into something bigger than a one-man (or woman) show, the move from an independent to a more interdependent mindset will be critical. You’ve got to really think about whether or not you’re ready to relinquish control to a large degree. Can you envision yourself loosening the reigns, trusting others to do the job you’ve always done on your own and holding them accountable, without micro-managing yourself or them into a frenzied state?
These are all very important questions that you’ll need to ask yourself long before you make the decision to grow your business. As Covey so elegantly sums it up, “Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.”
So, are you grown up enough to be all that you can be?