About Workforce Echoes

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


"We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything." - Thomas Edison
“Surround yourself with smart people” is advice you will hear many times over in the business world. It does not necessarily mean to find people with higher IQs than your own. It is much broader than that. Emotional intelligence also plays a huge factor. In addition, the advice refers to surrounding yourself with people who have different talents, skills, experiences and abilities from your own. Why? One of the most important lessons you will learn as a business owner, or manager of any team, is that you don’t know everything! That’s a hard pill for some to swallow. It doesn’t matter if you have the highest IQ of anyone in the country, you still will not have had all the experiences nor have all of the talents and skills to make the best decisions about every topic every time.

I can offer so many examples of this in my own business that it is hard to even know where to start. Let me just briefly describe three examples that have occurred just in the past week:

I was signing up to attend a training course to become certified in a certain personality/behavior profiling instrument. The certification training would have cost $2,500. I had researched many other profiling instruments and felt that I had made a good choice. However, before scheduling my travel arrangements I sent a quick email to a friend who is certified in many of these types of personality and behavior profiles. I asked his opinion about the certification I was about to attend. He sent back a message that completely changed my plans. His experiences with both marketing and delivering this particular profile far surpassed my own knowledge. Had I not sought his advice, I would have wasted $2,500.

I am developing the outline and content for a team building presentation. I brought my plan to my business partner who handles all the design for our presentations. Despite the fact that she handles design and I handle content, we always bounce ideas off one another. In this particular example, she made several comments about the flow of the presentation that improved it many times over. Together we produce a better presentation than one of us alone could do.

Last year we made a big investment on computer equipment, software, and software training. This week, after a two hour demonstration at the Apple store, we realized we made some bad choices in the equipment and training that we chose. In total this was about a $10,000 mistake, not including the time we could have saved by having the right equipment and software that would have significantly increased our productivity over the last year. If we had brought in the expertise last year that we sought this past week, we could have avoided this mistake.

REACH OUT! Talk to people, listen to people, and learn from other’s experiences and talents. The smartest people are “smart” because they take full advantage of the talents, knowledge and experiences that surround them


Tracy said...

Such good advice. seems our electronic world of emails, social networks, and online chatting is pulling up away from one another not towards.. Reaching out and talking to people and listing is great advise for all the 'smart' people willing to do it :D

Thanks for sharing!

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JGood said...

I completely agree. Nothing beats an actual face to face dialogue.