In every venture I have every been involved in, there has always been a Weldo. Weldo is someone who always has your back and quietly fills in for your shortfalls. He (or she) is an incredible and extraordinary Doer who might seem to emerge at a very unlikely time––that quirky individual that might not fit in an organizational chart, but has a miraculous way of making things work, a way of pulling people and resources together. As unorthodox as it might sound, this individual is vitally important to the success of the venture, although they might work in the background.
You’re probably wondering where I came up with the idea of Weldo. Well, I can’t really take credit for it because Weldo was a real person. What I can (and will) take credit for is sharing his story with you, and asking you to make sure you always appreciate your Weldos because you will recognize that many of your accomplishments wouldn’t have happened without him.
Weldo was the chief engineer of my dad’s fishing boat, the Mimi Lou. Recently I was reminded that I had written a chapter about Weldo in my book, Uncharted Waters. The book is a broader metaphor about the passion it takes to build a life and a business, but it is also about my dad, and the the crew of the Mimi Lou. A key part of the crew message was to always have a Weldo.
Not only did Weldo have a critical role on the boat, making sure all the equipment worked from hydraulics to the diesel engines and generators, but he was devoted to my dad and always had my dad’s back.Weldo was also crew cheerleader, always striving to keep morale high and everyone enthusiastic about their work, from down in the engine room to up on the bridge.
This experience on the boat in my early years, just watching my dad and Weldo interact, made me appreciate and savor any person––in any organization in which I was involved––that emerged as a Weldo.
Interestingly enough, in almost every successful venture I have ever had the privilege of leading, the real person that made it all work was a individual like Weldo.
As I have written about before, the team is currently working on a company that we are considering standing up (launching) once we get more information and a better understanding of the value proposition. At this stage, the question never really comes up of who is playing what role, especially the role of a Weldo. But just when I’m not looking or expecting one, they seem to emerge.
In fact, it recently happened with this current venture we are working on and we are all greatly appreciative. Our Weldo is the person that is making all the trains run. At this stage, I am not worried if they are on time, just that they are moving down a path. When the pain of discovery gets to everyone, our he steps in to smooth everything over and take a leadership role where others (including myself) leave things undone.
From the outside I don’t think anyone would really understand the importance of this individual in the success of our current venture. Unfortunately, when this company becomes successful the new people coming in really won’t understand the role that a person like our Weldo played in the early days or even that the company wouldn’t exist without this individual.
So this person has to be protected from “professional management” from new investors, from outside board members. The last couple of days I have been making sure that everyone on the team knows that if I get hit by a bus, our Weldo will always be taken care of even if the new people coming in really don’t understand why Weldo is so important. In fact, in almost all cases the work that is done early is messy, difficult and not a perfect science, which is why you need a Weldo, and is something that is really not understood by most big companies, accounting firms, professional Board of Directors, banks, etc.
So my question to you is, who is your Weldo? I am positive you have one. Whether it is for your family, organizations, business or whatever, we all need them no matter what role we play within these groups. YEP! Have you celebrated them and protected them from people that really don’t understand the important role that these individuals play?
I know that every successful venture I have had has a Weldo attached, even to this day! Yep! Every. Single. Time. So here’s to celebrating your Weldo.