The Inner Circle
Setting up a network of like-minded colleagues can pay dividends when it comes to advice and support in managing your business
It is well known, that it is incredibly rare to find success alone, without anyone’s help or guidance along the way. The same is true in dentistry – and in any profession for that matter. So many great people have all the right ingredients for success and yet never achieve their own goals or ambitions – and it isn’t for their lack of hard work, drive or intellect. I have found that the number one reason people do not reach the levels of success they aspire to is because of their ‘inner circle’.
This inner circle, is a well thought out, hand crafted group of individuals that you surround yourself with. They are not friends – not initially. Nor are they people you necessarily like to spend great amounts of time with. They are agitators – people who disrupt your thinking and challenge you to go beyond yourself. They are there to pull you up after a set-back or to give you the ‘tough talk’ that no one close to you could ever give. They are also highly skilled at something that you are not – for example, if you are not an expert in business, they should be.
Pick people for your inner circle that have very different skills than you do. Never meet together in a group, always one on one and take questions to them that you want answers to. Be eager to learn and be challenged to think differently by these people – they are your direct route to skills and knowledge that you do not have time to acquire for yourself – because as we all know, expert experience is worth its weight in gold and is something only time and skill combined can produce.
When looking for people to be in your inner circle, start by making a list of five to 10 people you most admire. These people should have a reputation for success and being skilled at what they do. Then search for these people on LinkedIn. You may find that you have a friend in common, if so, ask for an introduction from this person and if you do not have anyone in common, write a well thought out message introducing yourself.
The goal here is to set a telephone appointment or informal meeting together. When you meet, explain why you want to have a small amount of their time and help and then get to know their story. What did they do to be where they are? What advice would they have for their younger self?
When you meet or speak with people in your inner circle, it is important that there is always a value or reason for you to speak together. The ownership for this lies with you to be prepared with questions to ask or topics that you want advice or guidance on. Never go unprepared – no one likes spending time with time wasters. Meet or speak as little or often as you both are willing and able to, some people you will speak to more than others, but always, always go with an open mind, eager for answers and make it very clear that you want to grow and learn from their wisdom and advice.
I personally have a handful of people that I speak with a few times throughout the year, some more than others – and they teach me more than I could ever learn from going to a class, reading a book or listening to a podcast. They are my handpicked inner circle, with each person adding tremendous value to my life. I have found that many successful people are more than happy to share their wisdom and skill – but very few people earnestly seek it out and ask for it.
So my question to you is: Do I have the right people around me?