No matter who you may be or what role you play in a business, having a team that supports you as an individual makes all the difference. In fact, the more senior position you have, and the more people reporting to you, the more vital your personal support team is. Yes, the keywords are individual and personal.
Active Knowledge Question:
Who has your back, and maybe better asked as, who are your champions?
Strength through unity and humility should be one of your foundational principles/values if you want to succeed in many areas of your life.
And by success, I do not mean wealth, power and position; these are merely some of the less important outcomes. By success, I am referring to you unearthing your true talents, strengths and calling, and having the courage to step forward into these. So, find this space, be in it, and real success will be your reward.
What is real success? It’s the journey of continual growth where you are doing what you really enjoy and striving to do it better every day. And wealth, power and position may be some of the outcomes, but they will certainly no longer be the most important ones because you will be enjoying what you do every day.
And you won’t find yourself being pulled every which way as you seek success where everyone else tells you it is.
But the journey of success is challenging, and there will be many falls, hurdles, barriers and failures. And some people do not have the determination, willpower or courage to travel this path. However, it is the only path to realising your actual and full potential and the success that that will bring. The rewards will exceed your imagination.
This journey of success is one you should not take alone. Develop a team of champions to cheer you on and have your back on this journey. One person is better than no one, but I would say a team of three champions, if you can, is the right number.
It may take time, even years, to build this team as you journey forward, and some team members may only be there for a season.
Your champions are people who gladly have your back, are willing to support you to their utmost and importantly, will be independent, honest brokers in the advice and opinions you seek from them.
These champions will be your inner personal circle who will champion you toward and over the goals you have set for yourself. They will be your accountability team, a group for introspection, and they will stick with you to the end.
They may well not be the people you have traditionally surrounded yourself with or mixed with. Therefore, do not just turn on your default setting and go to your peers or historical professional advisors.
If you are in business, your senior management team are not your champions; they are the people you work with in business.
Your champions are personal and work with you individually. Yes, to support you in your profession, career and work responsibilities. But their mandate will be much broader as success in business/career only comes when you are successful in many aspects of your life.
One of your champions can be a paid professional but be careful how you define their role, so you do not create conflict in their motives and responsibilities; more on this below.
I would recommend caution in whom you seek out and ask to be your champion. Professional business advice (financial, legal etc.) is not what you seek from your champions, although one or more of them may well be a professional and draw upon that expertise in supporting you. But you have outside professionals who principally advise in these matters.
So, who do you place a question mark beside when creating a list of champions, persons who/are:
- Have a financial interest in a business with you.
- More interested in themselves than helping others.
- Full of doom and gloom and can only see the downside and all the things you have done wrong in life and business.
- Not humble and believe they know all the answers.
- Prideful, impulsive, reckless or just scared to step out.
- In it for the money.
And what traits are you seeking, persons who:
- Are willing to, or already are, concerned for you and your welfare.
- Know you on a personal level or are developing that connection.
- Display courage, discipline, sincerity, humanity and wisdom.
- Want to see you succeed.
- Can be frank and honest with you.
- You can trust and are of integrity.
And it is across your team of three that you seek to identify and strengthen these traits.
Why would someone want to be your champion? Because they care for you and/or they are someone who thrives in supporting others to be successful.
The role of your champions is to support you, and your role is to allow them to do this. And this is where humility plays such an important part.
Humility is the willingness to listen to others, to be open and vulnerable, and take on board feedback and advice. This can be a real challenge for many people who build a veneer of confidence around themselves, believing that they are always right and know what is best.
If you cannot bring yourself to be humble, then your champions and you are wasting your time and energies.
As you journey forward and connect with your champions, you must be able to speak openly and frankly about the challenges you have in your life and work. A frank honesty is what is required, which requires real personal strength.
Your champions must be exceptional listeners hearing what is said and, more importantly, what is not said. Be able to craft questions that will draw insights to the surface and create stepping stones that will allow you to move forward. Small steps are always best for building momentum as you progress and allowing the effect of compounding to play its role.
For everyone to play their role well, you need to get to know each other ‘close up and personal’, and that will simply take time.
Your champions are also present to uplift you, inject you with vigour and help you get up when you fall. To allow them to do this, connect with them regularly, individually and as a group.
Many choose to build a team through a mix of professional advisors and close friends. One of your team members may be your partner or a close friend, and another may be someone whom you have known for a long time, trust implicitly and value their advice, a colleague or former colleague, for example.
If you are in business, there may be an advisor whom you have come to know whom you place in this role. You can specifically search out and recruit someone to come along and support you in this role.
I see these relationships as being enduring, but the key is that you have ‘crafted’ a team that meets your needs. They do not have to be formal appointments; they can be informal arrangements between willing participants. But you should be clear on the connection you are seeking. Some would say these are mentoring or coaching relationships, but I think they are potentially much more.
A group of four who come together and seek to champion each other, for example, an accountability group, can work. Still, it typically requires a formality or structure with one person taking the lead.
However, you seek to draw your team together, it must be deliberate and focused. And have a formality and regularity to the connections and a very clear journey that it is on.
Further, you must bring a balance of contribution to everyone’s participation. You cannot just keep asking others to contribute to your progress if you give nothing back. Financial arrangements are a simple way to say thank you for those in business. Where that is not practical or possible, appreciation and thanks should be shown in another way; often, a simple thank you note will do that. Remember, you are seeking to craft a team who wants to see you succeed and who are not in it for themselves. And many people are happy to help others as their reward is seeing that person progress but don’t forget to bring the relationship into balance and not just take it for granted.
So, the question is, who are your champions? Who has your back unconditionally and are present for you when you need them most? Who wants to see you succeed and is willing to maintain your confidence? Can you list them now?
Success in life for any individual is a team effort. You need people around you, at a personal level, who are cheering for your success and want to invest in you being successful in all aspects of your life. They are your champions. Nurture and invest in this team, and enduring success will be your reward, and your real potential will be realised.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,