No man is an island. It takes a village. Two heads are better than one.
The proverbs, adages, and clichés go on and on, but I think you get the idea: in any endeavor, it’s impossible to make the most of it if you stubbornly insist on flying solo.
In business there are four people you need to make the absolute best out of your company:
(You might argue that “opportunity” isn’t a person in the same sense as the first three, but I’ll point to the well-known saying – Opportunity knocks but once – to support my personification of opportunity.)
No matter how you want to label these elements, you need all four to achieve ongoing, long-term success in business. Let’s look at each one.
Who do you turn to when you’re mulling over your next moves, or when you need to solve a thorny problem you’ve never encountered before? No matter how seasoned you are, you can always make great use of outside counseling.
I’m always amazed that even professional athletes at the highest levels continue to seek good coaching. Who knows enough to give Phil Mickelson advice? Nonetheless, he gets coaching when he’s off the course and seeks advice from his caddy when he’s in the midst of a highly competitive PGA event.
If you’ll allow me to return to a sports illustration one last time: In ice hockey, they call the crowd the seventh man. Home teams are buoyed by their fans. There’s a home court or home field advantage in virtually every sport at every level.
Vocal support from your family, friends and even employees makes a huge difference in the odds you’ll will be successful. Someone on the sidelines telling you that “You can do it!” fuels your tank and energizes you to dive in and make things happen.
Of course, the opposite is also true. If you don’t get support from those close to you, you’ll eventually run out of steam and your forward progress will come to a halt.
You get your creative inspiration from a muse, and creativity in business today is an extremely important factor for success. “Thinking outside the box” is certainly an overworked phrase, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
Your muse can be made up of a variety of people, things, events, and more. You need practical inspiration, so engaging industry thought leaders is critical. But you also need those sparks of imagination that seem to come out of the blue.
Plug into the arts. Enjoy nature. Hold brainstorming retreats with your team.
The picture of opportunity knocking at your door is a good one. You always need to be on the lookout for this “person.” Don’t let opportunity become a missing person in the life of your business.
And, the incredible quality of opportunity is that when you usher one opportunity into your business, it often leads to more opportunities; opportunity breeds like a rabbit.
So, do you actively seek each of the four persons I’ve described here? If you have to give yourself a grade on each one, where do you score the lowest? When you determine that, make it a point to go out and befriend that person.