How do I find team members? How do I find partners? How do I find people who will actually participate and collaborate in the vision that I have? This vision is so important to me—surely it is important to others, right?
I have bad news: there isn’t a silver bullet, a magic pool for finding people, or any simple answer. And just because you have a vision for something doesn’t mean you’ll ever find someone else who shares your precise vision. Sorry.
Finding people who share your vision is hard. There’s 7 billion people out there, most of whom you’ll never be in touch with. For most of us, we’re probably not going to talk to more than, let’s say, 2,000 to 3,000 people in our lifetimes—not personally, anyway. I have been, for example, blessed with the privilege of sharing at Perspectives classes with many, many students, but that’s not the same thing as talking personally with someone and discovering we can, should, and will collaborate together.
So here’s my suggestions for the whole seek-a-team-member-thing:
(1) reduce your teachable behaviors to an absolute minimum. Simplify. Make them available to the crowd as much as possible. Get it to the point where you can tell a crowd of people that something needs to be done—one thing that will make a difference—and trust that some people within the crowd will do it. This is crowdsourcing collaboration: it doesn’t lead to an intimate collaboration that is really powerful, but it can bear some fruit and get something done.
(2) if you want a partner in your work, a team member, then you have to start talking about the work you do. At the bare minimum, get a Twitter or Facebook account and start posting about the vision and what you are doing right now. Use twitter search, etc. to discover other people who might be in the same “area” if not doing the same “thing”, follow them, and try to help them. Remember the rule of reciprocity: but don’t do it just so they’ll be obligated to return the favor. Serve with sincerity, and you’ll build a relationship where people will want to help you.
(3) do it yourself. In the doing, you may uncover people who want to help, too. “The workers are in the harvest.”
(4) make sure you have a process for people getting in touch with you and saying, “I want to help.” It could be as simple as “email me” or “DM me” or “FB Message me” or whatever.
Finding people who want to help with your vision is hard, hard work—but it is fairly straightforward. It means talking and talking about your vision, and actually doing something so people can see you’re serious about it. And even then, you’re not guaranteed a partner.
The thing I always worry about when I hear “I need a partner”, however, and which will warn people off faster than anything else: it’s code for, “I need a free employee.” What draws people to your vision is this: a person (you) who is passionate enough about the vision to do it yourself even if no one ever volunteers to help. That’s a vision worth pursuing.