By Marc Beauchamp
Who you spend time with will determine your trajectory in life. I just finished a great book by Donald Robertson titled Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. If I saw one pattern repeated in Aurelius' life, it was that he chose to spend time with mentors and friends who challenged him and added something of value to his life. This is a trait of all super achievers.
Jim Rohn captured this truth when he said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Indeed, the people you spend the most time with affect your way of thinking, self-esteem, behavior and self-imposed expectations.
If you are the sharpest person in your circle of influence, get a new circle of influence. You must continue to challenge yourself and reassess what you want to become. A great way to do that is to surround yourself with high achievers who push you and encourage you to expand your boundaries.
There are many ways you can improve your associations and inner circle. Join a mastermind group, a new community, Bible study, meditation class or gym. Hire a coach, network in business groups, or volunteer for a business committee or the local chamber. Become involved with your church business ministry. The list goes on and on.
Choose the virtues or character traits you want to strengthen in yourself, and find a person or group that has what you want. I play a lot of tennis and am considered a pretty high-level player. The only way I can really improve is to find someone better than I am to practice with, someone who challenges me and pushes me to think differently, to work harder, to focus more. It's the same in every area of life.
Beyond your personal life, the next most important place to surround yourself with the right people is your business. All successful organizations have the right people in the right seats. Attracting and keeping the right people is paramount to the life of the business.
If you ask successful ISO owners, they will tell you they are the sum total of their employees. If you have been luck enough to have built a company large enough to hire employees, congratulations. Many small players never grow that large or do''t care to.
Having made poor hiring decisions in the past, I can testify that the wrong team member can set your business back for years and cost you untold resources and potential income.
When building out a team or organization, always hire A-grade players at every level. Look at Steve Job's philosophy in the 1980s. He recruited people by dramatically unveiling the MacIntosh and seeing how interviewees responded to the designs. He even unplugged an engineer's computer and forced him over to Macintosh from the Apple II team because Jobs recognized his A-player status.
You also need to build your company with a collaborative hiring process through which a candidate tours the company and everyone who is relevant for hiring that candidate.
When Steve Wozniak crashed his airplane in February 1981, he left Apple Computer. After the launch of MacIntosh in 1984, Scully merged the MacIntosh and Lisa teams with Jobs as their head. Jobs told the Lisa team that he was firing 25 percent of their team because they were B and C players—and the management of the MacIntosh team would all gain top positions in the amalgamation. It was unfair, but Jobs latched on to a key management experience: you have to be ruthless to produce an A-player lineup.
B players always want to hire people who are inferior to them. C players hire D players. So keep the best people on your team, and make sure that, after they're hired, you retain the right people in your organization.
Jobs believed that if you let any B players into your organization, they would attract other B players. A players love to work with other A players. By definition, they want to grow and be the best. That is what makes A players valuable.
Having the right people in your company and life is a big step toward guaranteeing success.
Marc Beauchamp is author of Survive and Thrive in the Merchant Services Industry and founder of Bankcard Life, a community for payments professionals. He is offering a free copy of his book to all payments professionals at www.bankcardlife.com/greensheet. Marc welcomes your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.
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