The People You Spend Time With Determine Your Ascent

In preparing for an eventual rise to the top of an organization, you should analyze the people with which you spend the majority of your time.

Here are three types of people you spend time with:

  1. The people who are where you used to be
  2. The people who are where you are now
  3. The people who are where you want to go

The first group of people are those who are currently engaged in an area you have outgrown, conquered or survived. It could be someone who is a new person at your company. They are just trying to find the bathrooms. Remember your first day in High School or College? You just wanted to find the bathrooms or your first class. It can be intimidating and by all means discomforting. It could be someone who is just starting a new business and you have been in your business for quite some time. One of the hardest situations is when you decided to break away from a group of people to better yourself or move up. You sometimes find yourself back in their company in a social setting or you run into them somewhere. The contrast is amazing. They have not changed but you have. They are still where you used to be. In the case of the person whose first day it is in the company, you can help that person. Guide them. Show them the ropes. That isn’t always the case with the former friends. As a matter of fact, the more you try to help, it seems the more hostile they get. On the other hand, it could be a cancer patient and you are a cancer survivor. Your presence and encouragement from surviving helps the person from this group the key question is, does this group pull you down or lift you up?peopleascent

The second group of people are your peers. They are in the same position and the same group as you. It is possible for the people in the first group to be your peers. What happens in that case is we try to keep one foot in each camp. We try to better ourselves and move up, but the time we spend with the first group pulls us back down. It’s like trying to rise to the surface of the ocean with a heavy object attached to our feet. If we are closely tied to the first group, we’ll struggle to make it, but be dragged down by peer pressure and attitude. On the other hand, if our peer group is this second group that is advancing at our same rate, they can be of a very small help to us. After all, they are trying to make the same strides as we are. This is known as peer competition. In most cases, information and sharing is rare unless there is plenty of safety and security within the group.

The third group is where you want to spend most of your time preparing for a rise to the top of an organization. Invest time with people who have already become successful. They are already safe and secure within themselves. They are open and willing to mentor and help answer questions. I had a tremendous mentor in Charlie Mifflin when I was 24 years old and trying to build a company. I was like a dog that chased a bus relentlessly but when I chased the bus down and caught it, I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew I had talent, potential and desire, but I didn’t have experience or wisdom to apply it. Charlie started the process to teaching me how to do that. It was a game changer. Throughout the years, I have always maintained of group of people who are in this third group I can harvest great experience and knowledge. You know what they say. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

Things to Consider:

  1.  What is the percentage of each of these groups in your life and which one do you spend the most time with?
  2.  If you spend most of your time in Group 2 and it’s a group you need to break away from, why do you feel comfortable there? Why do you feel uncomfortable breaking away?
  3.  If you spend most of your time in Group 1, are there opportunities for you to help them grow and develop? Are you sharing your knowledge and experience? Are they willing to learn?
  4. If you spend most of your time in Group 3, are you taking careful notes of the things you can learn? Have you scheduled a lunch with one of these people so you can ask specific questions about your craft?
  5. How will you more strongly leverage what you learn from Group 3 for greater results?
Tony Richards

Tony Richards

Founder and Senior Partner at Clear Vision Development Group
Tony Richards is founder and Senior Partner of Clear Vision Development Group, a leadership and organizational development company. Tony makes his home in Columbia, MO with his wife and partner, Ann Marie. In addition to Clear Vision, they also own Word Marketing, Horizon Research Services, and Fusion Production & Design. Tony was a C-level executive for 20 years, starting in 1985. He serves as a board member of Big Brothers & Big Sisters, a steering committee member & leadership instructor of Leadership Columbia and Small Business Committee member for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of Catalyst, a worldwide group of leadership specialists; He has published over 300 articles on leadership and business and is a regular columnist for the Columbia Business Times, The Rainmaker Group and Essex Business Strategists of Europe. Tony publishes a weekly newsletter, Clear Vision Weekly and an online video series, Clear Vision TV. His first published book will be available in 2014, entitled “100 Big Ideas To Enhance Your Leadership, Life and Business”. Tony was recently named number 27 of the Top 100 Leadership Experts to follow on Twitter.
Tony Richards
Tony Richards

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2 Comments

  • June 25, 2014

    gingerconsult

    padma_mohan Thanks, Padma. Good to see you again 😉

  • June 26, 2014

    padma_mohan

    gingerconsult Same here 🙂 Hope everything is going well with you, Jen!