From Independence to Collaboration: Ringing in 2019!
At this time of year, we look back on our successes and shortcomings—real and perceived—from the previous year (aka, last week), and think seriously about how we might do things differently this coming year. Some people call these goals New Year’s Resolutions. If I call them that, I fail before January is even over, so unlike my lofty dreams about eating fewer carbs and radiating nothing but light and love, I’m just thinking of these as “goals.” My goals this year fall under one overarching theme: Collaboration.
Last year, my primary focus was on independence. New Year’s Eve might as well have been the 4th of July for me: My resolution was to break free from the shackles of traditional employment and the fruitless cycle of devoting myself to companies that didn’t always put their customers –or their employees—first. I took an important step in that direction by moving to Texas, but I couldn’t commit to living or working there due to shared custody with my ex, who was firmly planted on the east coast. So I found the courage to do the bravest thing I have ever done and start my own company. What’s more independent than that?
This January, KATT Communications, my baby, turns one year old. Like a one-year old “real child,” I have to remember this creation is only in its infancy stage. This is true foe each milestone that thrills and excites me; each frustration that feels like an enormous setback; each “win” that seems like we’ve made leaps and bounds….until we experience another setback. It is all part of a larger and longer scheme. I am enormously proud of what KATT has accomplished, amassing a loyal customer base, finding some amazing coworkers, and winning a STEVIE Award, which honors the top women-led startup companies in the world. But I still have setbacks. I realized recently – with some humor—that the tenets of being a good new mom apply to business owners as well. For instance, here are the top five pieces of advice offered to new parents:
New mom advice: Top 5
Soak up every moment. Remember that everything is temporary. ...
No one loves their job every single day. ...
Remember that you and your partner(s) are a team.
Enjoy each moment.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
It’s the last one that has always gotten me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And that’s where I’m turning over a new leaf. I’ve learned I can do just this without sacrificing my independence: In fact, receiving help, collaborating with others, and forming a professional and personal support system are all tools that actually GIVE me my independence. The more I think about it, the more essential it is that I embrace collaboration. In fact, it’s what my industry is based on.
Collaboration and telecom go hand-in-hand. This is the industry that PRODUCES collaboration tools, for crying out loud. E-mail, video conferencing, wireless collaboration…all of these capabilities depend upon our ability to communicate and the reliability of service providers and contractors who will maintain your capabilities and resolve any issues in a timely manner. This is what I am dedicated to; this is what KATT Communications does. So why have I always resisted collaboration?
Recently, I was called upon to do a basic installation using a Grand Stream IPPBX from the manufacturer, located right here in Boston. My client was an environmental scientist group that works on preserving wetlands, an effort that the farmer in me can truly get behind. The company will be adding services and items as we move forward, including a video doorbell and a large projector screen. I was in the midst of several other jobs and the usual single-mom of two duties, but I couldn’t pass this up. Then I remembered I’m a new mom of this company. I did what I have always hated to do: I asked for help. And a beautiful collaboration was born! My friend and colleague Ben jumped on a plane, joined me in frigid MA, and together, we completed the job in record time.
Working with Ben to get the job done!
I was reminded again of how amazing joint ventures can be and how rewarding they are for the providers and the customers. We’ll be doing future projects for this client, and some I will work on independently, while others will reflect a fantastic collaboration between me and my partners in the industry. This ensures efficiency. Flexibility. And cost efficiency.