“We” is stronger than “me”.
“How can we best realize the value that others can add to the development of our projects and ourselves?”
Steffen Landauer asks this question in his “Asking for Help on Your Journey” essay in the book Maximize Your Potential. He provides five action steps to enlist the help of others. Because he writes for the creative community, I’ve kept the titles but boiled down the advice to get to brass tacks.
- Seek fellow travelers. Who out there is in a similar position to yours? Look for people who are similarly determined to improve. Don’t think of this like you are assembling a board of consultants. Instead, you are putting together a group of fellow travelers who share knowledge, information, and each other’s efforts: both good and bad. Steffen emphasizes that in order for this to be successful, everyone needs to be honest with each other. This is not optional.
- Ask for help. As someone who has coached young adults to ask for help from their elders, I assure you, people love when you acknowledge them as a knowledgeable resource and relish helping out. Think about this for a minute: when was the last time a young adult (who is not a coworker) approached you in your role as an owner and/or manager for advice? If, by chance, one such person sought your advice, would you blow them off? I think not. You’d be honored and put forth your best effort.
- Build a structure for collaboration. Whether it’s a physical meeting in the office or an online meeting like Zoom, a structured and consistent vehicle will yield the most effective results. Between meetings, individuals are out on the road learning, testing, and prototyping various processes, programs, and procedures. Your get-together not only facilitates the exchange of learning and progress, but it acts as a medium for tapping into latent knowledge. This is important. A question asked has the potential to elicit an answer that otherwise would most likely not be voiced.
- Consider yourselves “accountability partners”. Other than customers, who is holding you as a business owner accountable? Fellow travelers, who are willing and able to do it, fit this role perfectly. Did you reach a goal or milestone? If not, why not? You’ll have a tendency to be more productive because you don’t want to look poorly in front of your team of travelers. As Steffen notes, contrasting strengths and contrary opinions are always helpful.
- Highlight and discuss strengths. We have a tendency to talk about what is wrong or what isn’t working. And of course, this needs to be examined. But, when it comes to results that can make a difference, the opposite is true. Think about the systems, processes, procedures, and programs that are working well for your company. The “how” and “why” of this question leads to an interesting and stimulating discussion. The professional golfer has a smooth and effective swing. All non-professionals want a golf swing like hers. How does she do it? Other companies are wondering the same thing about you.
Strength in Numbers
The diligent and serious business owner and/or manager will always pursue business and personal development. The question: why would you want to do it alone? While you’ll always have one-on-one learning transactions, the real depth of learning and development is found through help from others. It’s found in the intelligence of your network.
Reading this, you’re probably thinking of other business owners and managers with whom you can become partners. Excellent! But, as a leader, think about your coworkers. They will benefit from getting together with like-travelers as well. Consider teaching them these action points. When meeting, allow your coworkers to use one of your conference rooms to conduct their own council.
It takes an entire team for your company to recognize revenue and profit, right? Why should it be any different for your professional development? The power of “we” strengthens the power of “me”.
Maximize Your Potential is one in a series of three books produced by 99U. These affordable and easily digestible books contain action-oriented insights designed to help readers become better managers of their ideas, time, and career. And they come highly recommended!
If someone was passionately curious and respectful, you’re going to remember him or her. Teach young adults in your life to reach out to other professionals like yourself.
Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potentia. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area and do not forget to register for International Roundtable in New Orleans on April 4 - 6!