The Power of Business & Management Associations
Apparently, if we list out the five business people we hang out with the most, our income will be within ten percent of the average income of those people. Do you reckon that’s true? Is it true for you? This little exercise doesn’t appear in most management training programmes – but it should.
Money is a wonderful thing. When we have lots, we can be generous and invest it for good in the world – and enjoy fine things for ourselves and our families.
The money we earn generally reflects the value the marketplace puts on the service we give, and the quality and quantity of the service we give reflects how good we are. The better we become, the better service we provide, and the more the marketplace rewards us. So, if we want more money (for the right reasons), we start by having a conversation with the person we meet in the mirror every morning.
One of the factors that influence the person we become are the people we hang around with. Whether positive or negative, there is a direct correlation.
If we were part of a team of ten people for a month and nine of the team were always moaning, complaining and generally being downbeat, their negativity would infect us, and we would find our behaviour mirroring theirs. In contrast, spending a month with nine positive, encouraging and upbeat people would have the opposite effect. We probably steer clear of spending too much time with a roomful of sick, infectious people. Well, attitudes are just as infectious, so we should choose carefully!
A good exercise is to make a list of people we spend our time with and split it into three categories: family, friends and business/professional. We can then assess how much time we spend with these people. Some will give us energy, and some will drain us of energy. On that basis, whom should you be spending more time with? Whom should you be spending less time with? And whom should you be cutting out of your life?
Are there people who don’t appear on the list who should? If we aspire to be better people (what ever that means for you), whom would we choose as role models. Another old adage says that if you want to become a millionaire, start hanging out in the places where millionaires hang out. So what kind of person do you aspire to become? And where do people like your future self hang out?
We don’t even need to know, or ever meet, the people we aspire to emulate. We can find role models in books and on CDs. I’ve almost got the late, great Jim Rohn’s accent off to a tee!
One of my friends carries around the sage advice of his father in his head. Whenever he’s faced with a difficult situation he just asks himself what his dad would do.
Over the years I’ve found that managers and executives spend most of their time with their poor performers and least time with their best performers. There’s some logic there – we want to get our poor performers up to the level of our best performers. Sadly the logic is wrong. We’re better off spending good one-on-one time with our best performers and interacting with everyone else in groups. Think of sport. Does a coach or manager spend most time with their best performers or with the third team?
Like most things in life, we have a choice about whom we spend our time with. We can choose our friends and associates; we can choose to have an inspiring mentor or coach; we can choose the authors we read and listen to.
The big enemy is passive choice: just going with the flow and not realizing how our casual and easy associations might be holding us back from the people we have the potential to become. Another enemy is believing that, because life is comfortable, staying where we are is fine. Fine is okay, but let’s aim for something better than fine for our lives.
Okay, I know that we can’t choose all our family members. If they’re energy sappers, and not immediate family, we can choose just to see them on high days and holidays. Immediate family might be tougher. But, in a small family unit, our attitude can have a stronger influence on them than theirs can have on us, especially if we know and understand the power of making conscious choices and how contagious a positive attitude can be.