Last week I wrote about the importance of setting up your Advisors Network and I listed a number of my Advisors Council members that have really helped me over my career. This weeks post will list some of the books or references from these icons that I have leveraged over the years. In many cases I have multiple books from each of these authors but I will limit the list to the one source from that individual that made the biggest difference in my professional development.
We have all heard a lot about networking over the years and how it is important for each of us to get out into the marketplace and build our network. Although I agree that building this personal network is important, it is what you do with the network you create that will determine your future success.
The focus of this post is not on leveraging your network for business or sales but rather working with your network to set up what I call an Advisors Network. No one knows everything that is needed to be successful in life and business in every circumstance. We all need help in many areas over the course of our lifetime. This is where the Advisors Network comes in. It allows you to leverage the expertise of many people when you need this specific expertise. Each of these people brings something to the table that you may not have as a strength or as a skill.
If you are like most people, ambiguity is extremely uncomfortable and is something to be avoided whenever possible. Most of us find the lack of definition and lack of boundaries associated with ambiguity a little scary so we attempt to get definitions and boundaries set as quickly as possible. This reduces our personal stress level but it may not result in an optimal solution or situation.
For other people, ambiguity is something that can be manipulated to avoid facing reality or to float through their career without accountability or deliverables. This sort of behavior is obviously unproductive and should be avoided.
For a third group of people, ambiguity is used as a productivity tool. They use ambiguity to help them consider all aspects, perspectives and components of an issue without being tied to any one viewpoint. They are able to objectively evaluate disparate positions or solutions without bias and select the best solution possible.
Are you a divergent thinker? Most of us have heard of the movie “Divergent” which was released in 2014. It is about a girl (played by Shailene Woodley) who grew up in a post apocalyptic world that was segregated into five factions. Each faction had a distinct role to fill in the “new world” and everyone in each faction was expected to think and act in accordance with the mission of their faction. Those who could not fit into one of the factions were homeless, lived on the street and called factionless.
Every year the kids who were turning 18 had to take a test that determined their mindset and selected their faction for life. This faction could be the one they grew up in or it could be one of the other four. If it was a different faction than they grew up in, they would have to leave their family and everything they had known and move in with the new faction. No cross-faction citizenship was allowed.
Although this system appeared to result in a very orderly and focused society, it was obviously very closed minded and limiting. It did not allow for much in the way of free thinking or creativity.
A few weeks ago I introduced a tool called the Business Compass. This tool provides the means of visually communicating your organization’s vision, mission, values, brand promise, leadership behaviors and strategic and operational priorities. I have previously blogged about vision, mission, values and strategic and operational priorities but what about Brand Promise?
Brand Promise is simply what the company promises to the people who interact with it. Companies that are able to follow through on their brand promise, create real brand value with their customers. This brand value can be measured in a number of different ways (see the Forbes article “Worlds Most Valuable Brands – Behind the Numbers” for one example) but essentially it comes down to how well known and respected the organization is and how much revenue this notoriety brings in. Forbes also rates the Valuable Brands with Apple, Microsoft and Coca-Cola right at the top of the list for last year.
The important thing to remember is that a brand isn’t what you say it is unless your corporate actions, services and products align with the brand promise. The litmus test for this is to ask your customers. They are the ultimate judge for a brand. Ask your customers what your organization means to them and you will get a excellent picture of what your brand is outside the walls of your organization.