Build a Power Room

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Build a Power Room
When Stephen R. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said that “Strength lies in differences, not similarities,” he could well have been referring to what we talk about when we discuss the “Power Room.” While not a physical room, per se, this figurative room is populated with a team of people – a “personal board of directors” in Fast Company’s Richard Leider’s words – that can provide the connections, perspective, and insights you need to help you achieve your goals more easily than you could on your own. Sometimes you are stuck and simply need to get out of your own way, and people who see things from a different angle can be the key to getting unstuck.

The differences are important. “’Yes’ men’” can make us feel great about our decisions, but they won’t stop us from making less than optimal decisions, nor will they offer ways to consider things that haven’t occurred to us already. The echo chamber of voices in agreement is one of the biggest reasons businesses fail, and it’s an even bigger pitfall to avoid for the solopreneur.

The qualities you prioritize in prospective members of your team are a critical step in how successful your individual Power Room will be in getting you where you need to go as you consider how to either approach existing opportunities or find new ones. So who will you recruit for your team?

There are many ways to start your search, but one useful approach is to think about what you know and, possibly more importantly, what you don’t. Who do you know that brings different skills from your own (but shares your values and understands what you’re looking for)? Who do they know that can be enlisted to your cause? Who will challenge your assumptions and get you to push yourself harder? And, overall, who not only can, but will, help you?

Look for skills and strengths that you don’t have, including knowledge, connections, and more (or different) experience, etc. Every Executive will benefit from creating a Power Room of trusted advisors who have competencies and skills that you do not already have. Every winning team has specialists. Create a list (and write it down) of the categories you need; for example, mentor, strategist, attorney, marketing specialist, insurance agent, business banker, wealth manager. Then carefully consider three or four different people in each specialty. Some you will pay, some are just friends and advocates, but base your decision based on competency and, when money is involved, select the best you can afford .

Beyond finding people to fill your Power Room, you should also think about others in your circles that you can help. We believe that the people we know and surround ourselves with are vitally important for several reasons. One is that we rise to the level of those we surround ourselves with. Another reason is very tactical. If we are going to be successful we must network with “Our People,” “Their People,” and “Other People.” With Our People, we network in a very comfortable, organic, attraction-based way. How we partner with our circle of influence to expand not only our circle but their circle makes a huge difference.

We dedicate time nurturing relationships with people we already know. This includes past and present clients, other professionals, and friends. We also spend time learning about and connecting to people we don’t yet know. We are trying to nurture and develop deeper relationships with others, so we open doors for one another. We believe strongly that we must build trust and credibility, nurturing our relationships over time.

This approach applies to list creation as well. Create 2 lists:

List “A” is one that begins with everyone you know. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious people – those you’ve worked with in your field, for instance, though they should, of course, be included – try to come up with at least fifty, but try for anywhere from ninety to one hundred names. Create your list in a small notebook or journal that you can keep with you. Keep this notebook with you so, as names come to your mind or as you meet new people you can add them to our list. The powerful thing about this type of community building is that when you become a connector, people are willing to listen and share. And since you already know these people, there is a greater likelihood that they will help support you if they can.

List “B” – everyone your people know – is equally important. Next to each name on your first list, write the names of people you can make meaningful connections to or those that you believe you could get connections from. Connecting and making connections is the fastest way to build Power Rooms and develop powerful interconnecting circles.

You should dedicate time to this daily. We recommend reaching out and reconnecting or making new connections at least three to five connections per day. With the power of the internet, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Quora, and many other channels, you have an unlimited capacity to contribute and draw on the strength and resources of others.

Learn to utilize other team members, mentors, clients, customers, collaborators, family, and friends in idea implementation. Listen to them. Author and entrepreneur Scott Belsky says the road to the creative process is lined with ego and narcissism. This is where you have to remind yourself that this is not merely about you. This is about your calling, your purpose, what you believe you were meant to do, and those you are meant to serve. When you can see your ideas, projects, organizations, and families in this way, you are free to entertain any possibility.

This is your ultimate responsibility: to create possibilities for yourself and others.

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