Keeping a Farm Team

I have  a farm team.  Actually it’s more of a list, mostly mental but I sometimes put it in a spreadsheet.  It’s names of the handful of individuals I would work with in a heartbeat.  It’s been indispensable on numerous occasions.

Even before I started Praxis I often recruited from my farm team for projects or to recommend great people to cool opportunities.  The farm team consists of that very small number of extraordinary people who have the spark.  They also have amazing work ethic to go with it.  Most of them don’t yet know how good they are and how great they can be.  When you meet people like that, stay connected to them.  Find ways to send them ideas, engage them in activities, and encourage and aid their development in any way you can while remaining hands off.  When you need a hand or need to start a company, they are far more valuable than investment capital or a logo.

Every one of the people I now work with were on my farm team at one point.  I am constantly on the look out for new members for the roster.  At any given time there are half a dozen or so people. I wish there were more, but these are rare individuals.  These are people that I would work with any time I had the chance, and rely on to succeed under almost any circumstance.  These are people you want in the trenches with you.  They’re not necessarily friends or even people I am in frequent contact with, though they sometimes are.  What matters is the “it” factor.  They either have it or they don’t.  I think it can be learned, but by around age 20 it’s pretty hard to gain if it’s not been cultivated yet.

Asking myself whether or not someone belongs on the farm team provides a lot of insight.  The answer it usually pretty quick and easy but it forces me to ask myself why the answer was a yes or no.  The more I do, the more I know what to look for, and the more I know what to look for the more likely I am to spot it.

Write down the handful of individuals you’d work with on anything.  If someone gave you a million dollars to start a company who would you call immediately?  Maintain that list, add to it, monitor it from time to time.  You might need it.

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