Sometimes, you just need the quick, dirty version of what a company does to get a grasp of their services, especially in a field as nuanced as defense consulting. Reading through jargon and pages of offerings can be tedious, especially when you are just trying to find some help. I’m here to provide a little more insight on what High Stakes Partners actually does today.
Founders of companies don’t go to CEO finishing school. Most don’t have any formal executive experience at all. I think that’s one thing that sets them apart from others who have been hired into their position after going through a series of learning experiences often geared for that end game. Founders think differently. When their company is successful, it’s usually because of this difference in mindset.
The gaps become more apparent as the company grows. Most of us realize those gaps in our own experience and figure that, “Hey, that’s a good problem to have!” and “We can fix that when we get there.” And this can be true. Experience is the best teacher, and experience in YOUR company is even better. But it’s not healthy, both for you and for your company, to be a hero all the time. You can, and should, also grow and add talent where you have gaps. Depending on others for some of the things you used to the be the “go to” for isn’t a sign of failure, it’s a sign of growth.
At the end of the day, it is still going to be you that your team brings problems to. I’m talking about those really hard ones that need that founder support. But who do you go to when you have a problem? It’s easy to build a “It’s lonely at the top” wall around yourself and determine that this is what it means to succeed and try to power through. Many do, do that. And it IS lonely at the top. Your team, that you might consider friends, are no longer completely safe to have certain conversations with. While you want to have an open dialogue with your leadership team, there will always be those small number of topics, ideas, and concerns that they may not be ready to engage with in a discussion yet.
This is where it helps to have someone you can trust on speed dial. Someone you can throw ideas by that isn’t so close to situation and that can provide a different perspective. Someone without an agenda or stake so you don’t have to worry about being careful and tiptoeing around important topics. Someone to be honest with. It helps to have someone who has already walked in your shoes and even better, knows your industry.
Some common themes where it might be useful to have an outside mentor or confidante include:
- Future exit plans: Exit plans should be considered early but can scare your team when you bring it up.
- Strategy: Sometimes it’s useful to run business strategy ideas by someone who doesn’t have to flip a switch from their tactical operations role.
- Self-confidence: Sometimes it’s simply good for the spirit to bare your soul a little and not worry about how that perceived weakness in front of one or more of your team.
- Self-growth: Maybe you recognize a skill or experience gap in yourself that you’d rather strengthen rather than delegate.
- Future planning: Concerns about growth in the Defense space can completely rewrite your regulatory and back-office needs. It’s helpful to see what is really coming down the pike from people who have made those mistake before.
We all have doubts. No course of action is without all sorts of interesting outcomes, good and bad. Doubt and uncertainty are some of the colors you paint with every day in your role as a founder and CEO. It’s fair to not always wear that doubt on your sleeve though. It makes sense why leaders want to show a strong front for their people. It should also make sense that we’re human, and building a wall isn’t usually the right answer to your problems.
The defense industry has always been an excellent place for entrepreneurs with good ideas to not only start a new company, but to potentially grow rapidly. Some are so successful, they fail. Not always in a loud bang but over time. Others get very burned out trying to handle the constant change and the pressures on them personally. High Stakes Partners has offered an outlet for people who just need a hand. We’ve worked with dozens of companies and their leaders over the past year to be a safe place in the storm. Every ship needs a harbor at some point. Sometimes our harbor is just being there for a phone call, sometimes it’s a strategy and growth session. It could be anything a CEO or founder needs. Mostly it’s being that person you can reach out to when no one else seems safe.
Take a look at a couple of our resources to see how we might be able to help you. Our “Services” section on the site is a great area to get a better in-depth idea of what we offer. Our blogs are also a great resource where we cover more nuanced areas that are probably part of your journey as a founder of a defense company.
Advisors and advisory boards sound fluffy, but they can be really useful if you just think of it as someone to reach out to help that doesn’t hold internal conflicts surrounding the business.
We’ve also outlined a couple of the most common business models we use to assist in our “How to engage with HSP” page. This might be a great resource for you if you are interested in working with us, but aren’t sure what it would look like.
As always – happy to discuss any of this in a private conversation. Send us an email or fill out our Contact Form and we can set something up.