Successful people get to where they are because they surround themselves with a highly capable posse – both personally and professionally. Occasionally, a few leaders get to where they are by stepping on others, with cleats, but more often than not super amazing leaders rise to great heights because they chose their trusted advisors carefully, listened to their posse’s shaman quality sage-ness, did a bit of reflecting on and sifting through said sage-ness, took decisive actions and then sat back and reaped their rewards. Unlike the Kardashians who can thank mama Kris for her keen sense to spy, ensnare and invest a $1, most leaders have to look outside their own DNA to balance out their skillset for maximizing profitable growth.
What makes for your ideal posse? A group of brilliant, happy, diverse people who have no interest in being sycophants. Your posse is made up of not one, but several bright, creative minds who might otherwise not link up if it weren’t for your own bright brilliance attracting them like bees to honey. Put these people together and look out! Whether it’s the President of the US picking key advisors and cabinet members or a CEO choosing his or her personal advisory board, whom you have in your ear matters! Consider the relationships between Bill Gates and Paul Allen, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Building your posse requires discipline and strategy. Here are four questions you must ask and answer to build your perfect professional and personal posse:
One: On a scale of 1 to 10, how combustible is their personality?
Do they blow up when something goes slightly askew, such as discovering that your accountant has not a clue? Do they harbor Oscar worthy revenge plots, jotting down background scores for when the villain gets caught? The ideal posse member keeps a cool head, can balance long term strategy with short term gains and spends time reflecting, evaluating and predicting before blurting out insensitive, judgmental, stupid-ass comments. In other words, we’re avoiding those individuals prone to drama and bedlam. Happy, well-adjusted folks are better brain-stormers and problem-solvers. When the shit hits the fan, or you’re in a spiral of stress, your posse members should be the first to calmly hand you a stiff drink and say, “You can so handle this, and we’re here to help.” Then they whip out their super-hero capes.
Two: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much more skilled are they than you?
Let go of your ego and let theirs shine! Any business or life skill that you rate yourself on as a six or lower you should be adding to your posse with an eight or higher. Then help them channel their talents into a focused, constructive mindset to help you meet and exceed your biggest needs and goals. Where to start? With a list. Hey, it’s not rocket science that you need an action-oriented game plan, and it’s super satisfying to cross off items with a big bold Sharpie. Not a list maker? Well, hello, then go find a 9.9 list maker to help you draft your game plan. Whether your list includes crushing the competition, finding a best friend, surviving your kids’ teen years, or expanding your territory, there is always someone whose perspective and ideas can spark you to play bigger, better and bolder.
Three: On a scale of 1 to 10, can they get stuff done?
Too many bar-sitting bloviaters believe to have solved all the world’s crises and invented all the coolest crap first. “Hey, bartender buddy, if I was in charge, I’d nuke the whole lot of them!” and “I thought of that first, he’s just lucky because he knows somebody!” are two of their favorite mentally-truncated mantras.
Instead of sitting around wishing your dreams were coming true, start making them happen. Once the strategic brain-storming and critical thinking has been done, the goals have been clearly articulated, and the action steps charted, your posse must roll up their sleeves and get things moving. Your personal posse certainly doesn’t have to do it all (and shouldn’t be expected to). They simply need to be accountable to some action, big or small, that is tangible. Your professional posse, on the other hand, needs to step up and accept full responsibility for meeting and exceeding the objectives assigned to each role. Any action on your posse’s part is acceptable if it eventually leads to an action item being crossed off your list… permanently!
Four: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much shit will they shovel before calling you on yours?
Your posse should be your biggest, most ardent fans, they should cheer loudly at your achievements, hand you a tissue when needed, provide words of encouragement and still give you one helluva kick in the arse when you need it.
Come on, you know there are times when you’ve been a bit too whiny, a little too victimized, a tad too tyrannical, or downright stupid, non-sensical and self-absorbed. Hey, you’re human, BUT instead of letting you mire in the muck of your own machinations, they grab you by the collar, pull you into a dead eye stare and say, “If you don’t pull it together right now, I’m going to make you watch Finding Dory ten times straight.” Suddenly, but not shockingly, you’re wide-eyed and battle ready!
It is much more fun to go through life with friends and colleagues who sincerely believe in you and believe that helping you is a rewarding and enriching opportunity for them. So thank them. Show your gratitude with words such as thank you, thank you, thank you, write a handwritten note, give an HR appropriate hug, (longer hugs for the personal posse are okay, but still – pull back before it’s kinda awkward for those watching) or serve them fine food and wine or the highest quality teas if that’s your thing.
Most brilliant leaders at one time or another have done really stupid things, things that if they had just turned to a smarter, wiser, calmer person, they would have been given advice such as, “If you say that on television your partner will leave you, your career will be ruined and your country will deny you global entry.”
And oh yes, it goes both ways. When was the last time you helped a colleague, friend or family member cross something off their list? If you can’t think of at least seven actions you’ve taken in the last month to sincerely help another achieve their dreams, then I suggest you get off your cute derriere, dust off your cape, and take some action.
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