01 Aug Why the company you keep matters
I don’t know about you but I love it when someone challenges my thinking, inspires me to greater heights and makes me do better work. In today’s busy world, it might not happen very often but I think you have to make it happen. You don’t know in advance when the lightbulb moment will come but you’ll always know afterwards. It is up to you to manufacture these moments, not wait quietly for them to happen serendipitously.
You may have heard the quote from successful businessman Jim Rohn who said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” Think about this for a minute. Mentally list out the five people you deal with most in your professional life. Do these people, challenge, stretch or pivot your thinking? Do you go out of your way to spend time with people who see the world in a completely different way to you? Do you spend time with successful people from other industries, other size businesses or other countries & cultures to your own?
The answer for most us is “no, no we don’t”.
I recently met a successful business founder who was recounting when he first started out and highlighted the main reason he felt his business got off to a flying start. He attributed his success to the decision to only work with the very best people in their field, regardless of their location on the planet. Despite limited resources, he found these partners welcomed the opportunity to influence the path of a start-up and he found them no more expensive than local businesses. They expanded his vision and made his offer better.
Here are four ways to raise your average:
- Purposefully approach leaders in their field for a meeting where you proactively exchange mutually-beneficial thinking via shared experiences.
- Seek out the best external partners in their field and create an environment of honesty and healthy debate around your project.
- Create cross-functional project teams within your workplace. Always with ‘a random’ who’s sole purpose is to improve the outcome through “different” thinking. This person could be a member of the group you are trying to connect with or it could be an engineer in a marketing project.
- Avoid the yes-people and the nay-sayers. These people do nothing but hit repeat and do the same thing every year regardless of the outcome. They are not helping you on your path to greatness, they are holding you back.
So, don’t always try to be the smartest person in the room. Rather, surround yourself with humble people who are better than you at something and are happy to share (as long as you do the same!).