A carpenter friend of mine has a set of colleagues that call him to do work when the occasion warrants: putting up siding, doing a drywall project that requires heavy lifting, framing a house, etc. When a two (or more) person crew is needed, they give him a call. Curt also has “a guy” that he hires when needed, otherwise, he works solo.

The on-demand labor pool described above is pretty small, so they all use each other repeatedly. This gives everyone enough knowledge and familiarity to become immediate contributors — they know the work and each other, thus the learning curve is minimal before they can jump in and do something meaningful. Their history together makes them exponentially more valuable to each other than just any random rented laborer.

This system works well in construction, but think about how you can you adapt it to a knowledge setting as well. Office workers or entrepreneurs can hire out specific jobs, but envision crafting a way to get a pool that you can use regularly to think with you. Is there a way to create a recurring group of people that have enough of a context to make relevant contributions without spending too much time understanding your goals? Can you cultivate a pool you can call when you want to brainstorm or talk something through? How can you develop a small group of thought leaders that are available when needed to help you advance your work?

Networking events and freelancers are wonderful additions and are great for initial connections or specific tasks. But focus your energy on building those relationships that go deeper and can provide you with recurring value. Having someone who understands how you work is gold.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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