In many ways, my childhood friends are like career advisors, offering a wide range of perspectives and experiences. Some of my friends have successful careers in finance or accounting, while others have been charged with felonies or are college dropouts. A small number of my friends are entrepreneurs, others are retired athletes, in the science field, or might be the 9-to-5 office type. They all have their place, and they all play a role in influencing my business choices and leadership style.
My perspective is not on a comparative level but an observation level. I observe what they do well and find how they use their skills to be successful. And on the inverse, are the failures we’ve all encountered. From my perspective, that failure amongst my friends can go back as far as losing the critical ball game and observing genuine emotions and reactions and means of getting back on a winning track or failing in a relationship, resulting in losing a girl/boyfriend over silly drama.
At the next level, flunking out of college and getting arrested. There is an abundance of instances where the kid gets thrown out of school for alcohol and drug possession or that young professional who earned that DUI. Let’s learn from these failures and push forward with business through honesty, integrity, grit and flat-out hustle! In my experience, compatible skills, the ability to learn from failure, and the maturity to stay persistent are all variables that make friendships and business last.
Is it a good idea to go into business with your friend or having your friend as a manager? Research at Harvard University
suggests that sharing a lot of personal characteristics with a business partner might make you less successful. On the other end, research from Gallup
has noted that people who have best friends at work are more productive and yield higher organizations profitability and customer loyalty compared to those who don’t have close friendships between colleagues.
Apply the “opposites attract” rule which advocates complementary diversity amongst groups. In the marijuana industry, there is little diversity while companies should be aiming to bring in like-minded but diverse talent. Here are some successful friends at work examples.
I grew up working in a family business and often, I had to call on close teenage friends to help with projects. Likewise, with my friend’s families, who had small-businesses, if there was a significant project that needed more hands, I was there! As a teenager, these kinds of cross-functions assignments boosted loyalty level amongst friends who I often played sports with or interacted with in a social setting.
These types of experiences helped me gain the social skills to learn from others while working in groups. The best way to learn from people is by getting to know them. After my teenage years, at age 26 I was working for a New Balance, and they opened a health club. I made friends with members of the health club, and ultimately a unique job opportunity came around from where one friend would become my manager. It turned out to be a great decision. I learned a ton about a new industry and grew my sales experience.
Jay Z & Dame Dash were childhood friends that started a company together and became internationally successful. Their philosophies, skills and business models re-shaped the entire music industry, known to be dominated by corporate giants. What I love about their relationship, Dame Dash knew his lane is a cultivator and business manager while Jay Z remained the talent. Ultimately, they went their separate ways but not without making their mark in history.
Bill Belichick & Tom Brady, not sure if they are friends off the field, the point is they have a legendary working relationship. Their success trumps any relationship they have behind closed doors. The years of success these two have experienced prove that diverse skill sets improve performance. Belichick is known for his defensive mind, while Brady is the talent with the ball.
Imagine starting a company with your friends, making billions of dollars, and everything goes smoothly forever and ever. Sike, it’s impossible because of nothing last forever. Cherish the moments today while planning to positively impact the future. Although all good things come to an end, strive to make by surrounding yourself with like-minded people.