Not too long ago I was reading an article in Essence Magazine entitled "Managing Your Career in your 20's, 30's, 40s and Beyond". One of the pointers that stuck out to me was “Build your success team”. As I sent the snippet to some friends something dawned on me. I might need to take this pointer in the literal sense and really build a team. If you look at some of the world’s most successful people, you'll likely find that most if not all will attribute their success to having the right people in their corner. Rarely does one ever say, "I did this all by myself." This brings to mind the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child” and Hillary Clinton's book of the nearly the same name. Of course that idea refers to child rearing but the same concept of a large circle of influence can be applicable to career rearing as well.
So I began to think of my career in basketball terms. It's my favorite sport to watch so the model was easy to work with. What kind of a team would I need to build to make sure that my career is a of a championship caliber. In basketball the saying is defense wins championships. What this means to me is I have a responsibility to make sure I'm ready for whatever obstacles or hardships that may pop up at anytime. So here’s how I thought I should build my team:
Owner – Me
You’re the owner. You’re accountable for building a winning team to take you to the championship. This is your team. You stand to loose the most if you build a weak team.
Head coach(s) – Senior Executive level mentors
You will need mentors. These are your most accomplished, most knowledgeable, and experienced mentors. They’ve proven themselves in their careers, paid their dues and have the respect of their peers to prove it. Tap into the wealth of information they can provide and the resources they can offer. You’re gonna need it.
Assistant coaches – Mid-career level mentors
These are seasoned professionals though not at the peak of their careers, still have so much to offer. Their wins and losses up to this point can provide great insight into what it takes to get there.
Trainer(s) - Your teachers
Any body or entity that you can learn from and use to help sharpen your skills. Whether it be an industry pro, teachers, classes, books, webinars, or networking groups your trainer(s) will get you in tip top playing shape.
Your starting 5 - Your trusted peers
Fill positions 1-5 with work colleagues, family, friends, and industry connections. People you know are in your corner and want nothing more than to see you win. They’re sending you job and investment leads, providing you with references on linkedin, talking you up to their peers and introducing you to connections they think might be helpful to you. They are in the trenches with you and you’re probably returning the favors.
Fans/Cheerleaders - Your support system
Your fans/cheerleaders will not only encourage you but will also let everyone know how awesome you are. They may not have time or knowledge to help you look for opportunities or provide suggestions but they believe in you and their words of encouragement provide you with much needed motivation.
This sounds like the makings of a great team to me. Whether you want to add in some other key people and give them roles like referee (for unbiased truth) and marketing & sales (to sell you) is all up to you. The overall idea is that you have a solid team in place to help you achieve your professional goals.
Thanks for reading. Now… “Let the power moves continue.”