Pick People For Success

January 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

365/321 Rock Climbing

Image by Noodles and Beef via Flickr

“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”

– Colin Powell

Last week, Wendy discussed the concept of an internal board of directors – roles for personal governance to complement our own strengths and weaknesses.

When I read Wendy’s blog and then saw Powell’s words, it was natural to complement her thoughts by focusing on the importance of identifying others who’ll be important in reaching our goals and dreams.

The quote from the former U.S. Secretary of State is certainly applicable to the workplace. I also see a greater message in it. And that is that we should seek to associate ourselves with people who can help us be successful whether at the office, in our volunteer activities or on a personal level.

It might be that these people will work hand-in-hand with us on a project or toward a goal or help us by being supportive in some other way.

As we move into a new year, many of us will make resolutions.

If so, we’d do well to contemplate who in our lives is supportive of what we want to accomplish. Do we need to reach out and find other like-minded people to bolster our success? Should we nurture existing relationships further? Is it possible we’re around people who don’t believe in what we’re doing or are simply negative in general?

I don’t make resolutions. When I focus on one or two things to improve upon and don’t reach those targets, I dwell on the ensuing disappointment. A year ago, I simply stated that I would put the ‘10’ in 2010. In other words, I would make it the best year yet.

While I knew not every part of my life would necessarily improve, I was confident my attitude would ensure a great year over all.

Part of that was re-focusing on how people with similar values and outlooks are instrumental in fostering positive energy. Those vibes feed off each other, like flames building towards an inferno. Likewise, I’m sure you’ve noticed that negative people are like cancers in the workplace or other parts of your life.

I led a rich life prior to this year – well, except for still waiting for that lottery win to occur – but I realized how easy it is to take your eye off the prize when you allow yourself to be distracted by disruptive individuals and undesirable situations.

Once I refocused, wouldn’t you know it but new opportunities arose almost immediately. For example, the concept for a book emerged along with some people who will help me make it happen. I developed some other positive friendships that will lead to other goals being met.

Co-writing this blog with Wendy continues to inspire me. Exchanging ideas regularly with someone who’s equally driven toward a goal is motivating.

I’ve also contemplated the Powell quote in terms of the workplace. It dovetails with a thought I’ve long had – that if I were starting a new company, I’d recruit an all-star team of colleagues, based on their values, ethics, passion, energy, and desire to achieve.

Oh yes, they know how to work their asses off. Like me, they just like to have fun doing it.

I’ve always hired on the basis of skill being about 20 per cent of the equation and the rest hinging on attitude, flexibility, customer service, teamwork, and willingness to learn. There are things I can teach – like how to write more effectively. I have no desire to take the time to try to transform a negative outlook into a positive one in a busy work environment.

As a long-time volunteer, I’ve also related Powell’s quote to that sector. Who hasn’t seen their child’s team embroiled in politics when everyone says they are there for the good of the kids? On the other hand, a group of hard-working, devoted volunteers can outdistance a fundraising goal.

The challenge is that we seldom get to pick who we work with in our employment and volunteer lives. Therefore, it’s important to gravitate to those with the comparable goals and feed off each other’s energy and commitment.

So, considering the achievements you want to see in 2011, do you need to make any changes to your team?


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