“We are stronger when we listen and smarter when we share.”
I develop people for a living; it’s my thing, my speciality. In that capacity it can be tempting to try to be the most knowledgeable person in the room, to try to be the person with all the answers and to be ready to convey ultimate wisdom at the drop of the hat.
But honestly, to try to be that person would be the most stupid thing in the world and if I ever acted like that I’d want my clients to throw me out on my ear.
Two of the most powerful things I’ve learned in nearly a decade of coaching, training and consulting is the power of asking the other person for answers and the power of getting people to share their knowledge and views.
And I recognise that this fly’s in the face of popular media culture at the moment for there is a culture of the ‘superstar’ prevalent in the West World these days. The image and idea of the ultimate person calling all the shots whether that is in business, sports or media.
In the business world names like Lord Sugar, Sir Richard Branson or Donald Trump are paraded around as examples of this individual. The implication tends to be that we should be like them at least as far as the popular image of those individual is presented, that is - supremely confident, competent and successful through their own individual efforts.
The problem with that is that it is a false image and dangerously so. The part that gets over looked by the general media is that those people, and people like them who have achieved high success in business have always achieved their success through the collaboration with equally bright, educated and ambitious individuals.
The actual reality is that there are no individual superstars. There are simply individuals who have been superb team players who became team leaders and as a consequence of that collaboration have continued to rise in their respective organisations.
And those individuals who created their own companies and grew it from scratch have equally grown and expanded through the hiring of the best and the brightest.
Business is a team sport. And the best way to get the best out of a team is to pool it’s talents and learn from each member of the team.
And zooming out and looking at life that’s also a team sport. Did you know that the quality of your health after the age of 70 is influenced by the number and quality of your social connections?
Indeed it’s been shown in studies that the quality of your social connections has an direct influence on the length of your life – the better friends you have the longer you live! (FYI - Only real friends count towards this, Facebook one’s do not!)
So whether it’s a better, more enriched personal life or a fast tracked career you are wanting then collaborating, talking and sharing ideas, views and thoughts with the right quality of people is key.
The stumbling block to doing this successfully is often our own ego. We need to learn to put aside thoughts and prejudgements about what the other person might say and how that will reflect on us. We need to move from
‘if their idea is better than mine then that reflects badly on me’ to a position of
‘if their idea is better than mine then great because we have all moved forward and learnt something and maybe we can go even further based on their new idea’
It can be a challenge to be ego free and completely open to the notion that the other person in the room might have much better answers than us but it’s a personal development challenge worth taking on.
I’ve seen a rookie sales consultant, two days into their first sales job, come up with an idea that hadn’t occurred to the seasoned professionals in the room. And I’ve seen, on more than one occasion, receptionists having ideas that have improved customer service, increased efficiencies and saved costs in companies where highly paid executives have been blind even to the existence of the problems that the receptionists solved.
It’s good to learn as much as you can about your specialist topic and role in business but alongside that acquiring of knowledge do what you can to acquire the humility to ask the other person for answers and share freely with your colleagues for the betterment of all.
And you know what, maybe today is the day to start that journey.
If you're not already completely open to new ideas then you know what; maybe today is the day to start that journey.
Until next time; be successful!
PS If you enjoyed this blog there are another 50 Motivational Monday articles at www.edenchanges.com along with a wide range of free e-books and informational articles on sales, recruitment, management etc.