Leadership lesson: Create an inner circle that accelerates your success

What is an inner circle?

This is group of people that are closest to you and influence you and the team most. It may be composed of your family members, friends and colleagues. They contribute specific things to you and the organisation.


How can you predict someone’s level of leadership ability?

It is commonly assumed that you are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with. How much you earn will be similar to your friends. If you want to earn a lot more then you will need to change your inner circle and hang around with people who earn a lot more than you. Millionaires hang around other people who are also millionaires because they can relate to them. To get to the next level you may want to find people who are in the hundred million brackets. If you spend time with them, you’ll learn a lot about what they think about, believe and do. You will model them, and your level will rise. We all have mirror neurons that automatically model other people’s behaviours.


How can you improve?

Your ability is dependent on two factors. Your genetics and your environment as well as your inner focus and practice.  You make your habits and then your habits make you. If you want to be great at Tennis, then the worst thing you can do in practice is play with people who are a worse than you. It’s tempting because it’s comfortable and you’ll get a good feeling of victory. Most people play with people who are generally similar, and they win some matches and lose others. Playing people way above your level may demoralising because you’ll lose a lot. The best thing is to play with players a little better than you and if try really hard and raise your level a little you can beat them. This will give you an incremental improvement.

In families, you often see children become doctors or lawyers because the parents were doctors and lawyers. The children were influenced by the parents. Your inner circle determines who you become. When children spend time with other children with bad habits, they often pick up the same habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol. However, if they spend time with people who are studious then they become good students and follow a particular career path.

Make a conscious choice of the type of people you want in your inner circle. You become what you think about and feel. Make a strategic decision on who you want in your inner circle. This could be based on their talents, experience or position held in the organisation. This could make the difference between success and failure.

No one has all the skills and knowledge to succeed in everything they want to achieve. Pick people who have complementary knowledge and skill so that 1+1 is not equal to 2 but 1+1 = 11. The total is much greater than individual components and talents and combined achievements compound.

Since your inner circle will influence each other as well as people across the organisation you must choose members carefully dependent on the influence, they are likely to have.

When recruiting members to your inner circle you will need to be clear about what you want. You need to get to know people well. This will take time and effort. Your observations need to be keen. Find people that will fit into the culture easily and that can add value.

Don’t rest on your laurels. Once you have a good inner circle don’t be complacent. You need to keep improving it. People will come and go. Only keep those people who add a positive value. Move people on who are negative and suck out the energy from your inner circle. Spend time meeting people, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, cultivate and recruit the best people. Sometimes when you go to another organisation you will need to start from scratch and build an inner circle yourself.

Often the key to success is not what you know but who you know.

Who is in your inner circle?

What is each member contributing?

How can you improve your inner circle?

Who can you recruit and who can you move on?


If you want to take the first step and learn about leadership then sign up for our forthcoming leadership courses (coming soon).

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