That quote from John Donne is some four centuries old and still provides guidance to us. No matter how good, how smart, or how talented we think we are, we cannot succeed alone. We need trusted advisors- whether we call them our inner circle, our family, our board, or our friends- or any combination thereof.
Even if we are expert in everything (NOT), we still will miss something. That’s where our advisors earn their keep (even if that compensation is zero). An advisor can help provide us relevant information, serve as objective observers, force us to explain our goals in concrete fashion, provide alternative strategies, or introduce us to others who may also help us. And, our advisors want us to succeed.
The composition of the team (it does not have to be formal; but for corporate affairs, it probably should be) depends upon where you are and where you want to go. The key point is these relationship involve not only you trusting and believing in them- but that they reciprocate.
The first thing you have to do is- know yourself. Review any appraisals, but certainly ask yourself the tough questions. Yes, this brings us back to developing and enunciating your vision and mission (https://raackerman.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/time-management-and-vision-mission-and-goals/; https://raackerman.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/87/ ). You won’t get to where you want if you don’t know what you want.
Once that’s clear- we need to know the context- why we need help. That means we need to have defined goals. (https://raackerman.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/time-management-and-vision-mission-and-goals/, https://raackerman.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/forget-ready-fire-aim-thats-old-school/ ).
Then, and only then, we can determine who may be best suited to help us. We need to enlist people who have experience dealing with the goals we have set out. They don’t have to be in the same business sector, but they need to understand and have experience with our mission and goals. These people are willing to help you because they will learn things (and will derive some compensation, whether monetary or otherwise) and want you to succeed.
You need to insure that these folks share your values. It insures that the methodology by which you achieve your goals and the evaluation of choices- are in alignment with your values. Seek out people who have broad, deep, and current knowledge of the area in which you seek their expertise. These advisors provide the requisite insight and accountability to help you achieve the maximum results from your efforts. They will prove to be the lever you need to avoid the pain and achieve the gains you want.
[This is dedicated to my current and previous advisers. This includes my mentors,my boards of advisers/directors, my co-founders, my children, among (not-so-many) others. Thank you, one and all!]