This is the second part of a two part series about why a degree is still important to entrepreneurs who work for themselves. Here is the link to read the first part of the series on Knowledge vs a Degree.
Entrepreneurs Are Not Lonely
To work for yourself sounds to some like a great thing, no boss bugging me, no annoying co-workers, no commute, just me, myself and I. To others, it sounds like a lonely existence, and usually both parties are wrong. Entrepreneurship is nowhere near as lonely as it might seem, in fact, it's often filled with team building and working closely with others. If you look at some of the worlds greatest entrepreneurs, most will say the greatest skill needed by an entrepreneur is for that person to be a great team builder - Steve Jobs has said, "I think it's [team building] the most important job… When you're in a startup, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not".
A major portion of team building and teamwork is learned, for many, in collegiate life. The transition from high school to college is often one of the largest socializing transition of a person's life. Going from a comfortable setting with family and friends you have known your whole life to a completely new place with new people and new norms. It is uncomfortable, and that experience that helps people understand better who they are, their strengths and weaknesses and who they have the ability to get along with.
Making friends in college is often very similar to building a team, you work with people to establish incentives, rituals, goals, even if the terms are often not defined. These team building skills can easily be translated to team building except for one big difference, in business you need to evaluate others on skill level and pairing with others with different skills that might pair with yours. In college, it's easy to build this team of people with complimentary skills because skills are segmented by major and skill level is defined in tests and grades (though beware this is not always the best test of skill).
This personal skill building and complementary skill seeking can obviously be done outside of college, however it is easy to see how the university atmosphere is conducive to this. If team building is key to the success of a company, a college is a good place to understand skill sets and understand personal weaknesses.
What are your thoughts - is team building key to running a good company? If so, do you think colleges are a good place to learn team building skills?