If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, at some point you’ve probably been given the advice to find someone whose skillset complements yours.
The idea being that if you pick a business partner who’s too similar to you, you guys will clash and/or the tasks that you both find challenging won’t get done.
It’s not always so easy to find this kind of partner — and I suspect that’s partly because it’s not so easy to know what you bring to the table.
Simon Sinek has spent a lot of time thinking about this problem. Sinek is a leadership expert and bestselling author; in his 2009 book, “Start With Why,” he addresses this dilemma head-on.
Most people, Sinek says, are either “why” types or “how” types — and the best business teams are a balance of both.
“Why” types, Sinek writes in the book, “are the visionaries, the ones with the overactive imaginations. They tend to be optimists who believe that all the things they imagine can actually be accomplished.”
The late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was a “why” type.
“How” types, Sinek writes, “live more in the here and now. They are the realists and have a clearer sense of all things practical.”
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is a “how” type.
When Sinek visited the Business Insider office in July for a Facebook Live interview, he shared an easy way to figure out which type best describes you: Ask yourself, “Where do I get insecure?”
“If you get really insecure about figuring out all the details, and it really makes you uncomfortable, you’re probably a ‘why’ type. If you get really insecure that you don’t have big ideas every day, you’re probably a ‘how’ type.”
The important thing to remember is that “one type is not better or worse,” Sinek said. “The thing is to find somebody who complements your skillset and you’ll be a powerful team together.”
In the book, Sinek explains how the balance of “why” and “how” thinking worked for Jobs and Wozniak:
“Steve Jobs was the rebel’s evangelist, but Steve Wozniak is the engineer who made the Apple work. Jobs had the vision, Woz had the goods. It is the partnership of a vision of the future and the talent to get it done that makes an organisation great.”
Watch the full interview:
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