Cover 2 Cover Magazine July 2011 : Page 11

Grace Under Pressure WORK & WEALTH by Paige Arnof-Fenn Whether you are raising money, looking for investors/VCs/new Board members, inter-viewing for a job and meeting your next boss or CEO, dating and considering marrying your mate, the same advice will serve you well. Try to find a way to see how that person handles pressure or tough situations. It is probably the single best indicator of long term success. In my experience I can give you tons of exam-ples of people who have either skyrocketed or crumpled under heat. You have probably heard the saying that smart money beats dumb money which always trumps no money when you are in fundraising mode. I’d add that whether the money is smart or dumb, it sure helps if the person or team writing the check stays cool when the you know what hits the fan. If they panic you could get forced into a premature exit or closing . We’ve all worked for those insane bosses or had those unstable colleagues who melt down at the slightest sign of trouble. This issue’s theme is around the military and this advice certainly holds true for our armed forces, they have to be able to make decisions under pressure all the time too. My husband & I have both lost a parent in the past few years. I am amazed how many people have commented that we seem to have strength-ened our already solid relationship despite the stress of our situation. Some days we were in fact pushed to the edge by the latest wrinkle, but with each fork in the road we made the best decisions we could with the informa-tion we had and then of course corrected as we went as needed. I am fortunate to have a spouse and a team who work well under pressure. When you run your own business you have the luxury of hiring for chemistry & fit. Here are a few questions you may want to ask a prospective employee/investor/Board member/partner next time you have the op -portunity: • Tell me about a recent situation that blew up and how you handled it • How would your colleagues describe your role and input into the situation? • Knowing what you do now after the fact how and what would you do differently next time? • If you had to do it all again what would you do this time? • You may also want to make sure you ask every reference you talk with about how this person handled stressful situations as a reality check. Real character is revealed when people test their limits not when things are going along smoothly. Make sure you have the right team in place before you get stuck in that fox hole. In business and in life the cream always rises to the top and isn’t that the best part anyway? Enjoy! July 2011 | Cover 2 Cover Magazine 11

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