Why strong leaders should recognize their shortcomings
Jeffrey Woolford's time as a military officer taught him that there are two types of leaders: those who try to do it all themselves and those who recognize their shortcomings and bring in team members to make up for them. "I chose the latter," said Woolford, the CEO of Parallax Enterprises, which aims to improve patient safety in the surgical setting.
Woolford said he reached out to people who could help the company succeed and get the business model moving. But he only selected team members he trusted unconditionally. "If I let one bad apple in," Woolford said, "it would bring the whole enterprise down."
Most of the Parallax Enterprises team consists of people who Woolford has developed a trust with over the course of his life or people who came highly recommended by name. "We're just too small and too new to let someone in that I don't know," he said.
Here are other entrepreneurial insights from Woolford:
Focus on the mission -- The 13 people on the Parallax Enterprises team work nights and weekends and spend long hours away from their families because they believe in the company's mission to revolutionize patient safety, Woolford said. In fact, he said, most of the team members are working for deferred compensation. "We're doing this for the common good to make sure that we can get safety where it needs to be," Woolford said. "That's been a great advantage for us."
Be trustworthy -- "I was looking for $1 million for an initial round of capital investment for our company," Woolford said. But Parallax Enterprises exceeded its goal by about $200,000, he said. "This is the consequence of my professional adult life where people have judged my character and said, 'I'm going to trust you with this,'" Woolford said. "It's being rewarded for a career of trying to be honest."
Be your own advocate -- Access is a challenge for Parallax Enterprises, said Woolford, who added that the company is seeking a strategic partnership in the next few quarters. His plan for scoring a great partnership: word of mouth, reaching out to networks, and media opportunities. "You can't be afraid to get out there and advocate for yourself," Woolford said.