January 15, 2015
Who is going to help you “up your game” in 2015?
5 people you should have in your network this year
I admit that I am a lone wolf. Having been an independent consultant and coach for many years, I like the freedom that comes with being able to wander the woods of my working world on my own, engage with other professionals when I want, and retreat back to my private lair. About a year ago I joined a pack of smart, accomplished people – some of whom are also lone wolves – who are my fellow Forum Chairs in MacKay CEO Forums. As a group and independently, we are committed to building a community of CEOs and other leaders across the country who come together to share experiences and benefit from being able to do so in an open, honest and confidential environment. As Forum Chairs, our task is to match these leaders in a best fit group, facilitate meetings and retreats and do whatever we can to ensure each person’s learning and enhanced performance in their business, family and personal lives. It works and I love it! But in addition to loving the actual work with CEOs and other leaders, there has been a somewhat unexpected benefit of joining this pack. While each of us still wander our own woods, we have regular occasions to come together as a group of 25 (and growing) Chairs or in smaller packs. The result of that interaction is that we share techniques and experiences, what worked and what didn’t, and we always have someone to commiserate or celebrate with. When I add my fellow MacKay CEO Forums Chairs to the other friends and colleagues I have built up over the years, I realize that I truly have a network that can help me up my game in 2015. Who can help you up your game in 2015? Who is in your network – or could be in your network – that will question, push, give you a new way of looking at things, prop you up when you fail and pop the corks with you when you win? If it helps, these are the people that I think everyone needs in their network:
- The Picture Painter – are you the type of person who paints big frescoes or small miniature paintings? In other words, when you think about your business or career, are you drawing a big picture with lots of moving pieces; or do you paint with tiny, intricate brush strokes that create a picture of finesse, expertise and small steps? Whichever you are, consider identifying the opposite type of painter for your network. Me, I am a fresco painter. I tend to take out a broad brush when I am thinking about a business plan or career path. I have learned the benefit of having people in my network who paint miniature paintings of far greater depth and at a slower, finer pace. They can counter my broad strokes and I can sometimes help them move their lives onto a bigger canvas.
- The Get ‘er Done Person: if you have a tendency to over think things, talk yourself out of it, procrastinate, then you might want to find a person who is a mover – what we might call a Get ‘Er Done person. There are times when I have said to my coaching clients: take a step, any step. Sometimes any movement is enough to get you rolling. If you are lucky enough to have a Get ‘er Done Person in your network, he/she could be there to pull you along until you find your own feet.
- The Reflective Person: on the other hand, you might be all action without enough reflection. You know: the person who fills every minute of every day and takes a perverse pride in saying there isn’t a nanosecond in the day when you can even stop to think, let alone reflect. If that is you, think about who in your network is reflective? Who can you go for a drink with and know that they are not only going to listen – really listen – to what you are pondering but they will be reflective in a way that you never are.
- The Accountability Person: accountability is different than support. Support is hopefully what you get from your parent, your partner or best friend. The Accountability Person is the haul-you-on-the-carpet person and find out why you haven’t done what you said you were going to do. One of the things to watch out for with accountability is that it has a tendency to start out strong and then peter out. Look for someone you can count on to keep holding you accountable until you both agree the goals have been met.
- The Big Stretch Person: a colleague of mine recently said that she went out on a limb and asked a really busy, accomplished person to help her with her goals this year. She figured the worst thing he could say was no, and he said yes! Who is the scariest, big stretch person you could ask to be in your network this year? Think of someone who would be absolutely awesome to help you up your game and ask them!
Networks work best when they are two-way streets. One of the fastest ways to get someone to agree to help you, is to offer to do the same for them. Happy New Year and here’s to upping your game in 2015!