Working at Gangplank challenges me everyday. Mostly it’s small things, like learning the difference between various kinds of 8-feet bulbs to replace in the project rooms or what adaptor works with which laptop for a brownbag presentation. Sometimes though, the challenges are things that scare me shitless, like organizing a Startup Weekend and 60-day incubation program, having never attended a Startup Weekend or started a company.
But the everyday struggles and common feelings of utter technical stupidity have tremendous payoff. I’ve helped build communities of strangers and seen them take on incredible projects, such as building a Gangplank (Tucson) or a company in 54-hours. I’ve watched government agencies come together in the common cause of supporting community. I’ve seen the direct impact of Gangplank on local business and experienced the gratitude of our work in promoting their efforts. And the free lunches from Anchors as an occasional thank you are nice too.
On the bad days when I feel like an utter failure, I have to remind myself that the people of Gangplank hold me to a higher standard than anywhere else. No matter what screwups I make, I’m still growing as a leader, as opposed to any other job where I’d just be taking a step back.
So how do I top year one?
Focus on the big picture
While the day-to-day aspects of my job have me focused on the minor details, I often get wrapped up and fail to think about the bigger vision. What we do here has lasting impact, beyond the next few meetings, weeks or miles. Instead of focusing on how to manage the next hour of programming, or weekend of activities, the focus is on what happens after that hour, beyond that weekend, and into the next five years.
Be aggressive, be be agressive
I’ve got the brass balls on my desk (thanks Mike) as a constant reminder that it’s my job to stand up for the Gangplank community – not just to the outside world, but internally. It means taking off the friend hat and having the hard conversations with regulars, Anchors and even the Gangplank co-founders, to make sure we don’t stray from our core values.
The Anchors had their shot at reviewing my work. How about you? How’s my driving?