You are the average of the five people you spend most time with. Here’s four reasons and twelve questions to see if you’ve got the right five.
I’m really not sure how to frame this one up people. If you don’t have a focused learning goal and a learning strategy to improve your knowledge or skills then you’re already way off the pace. Your five should contain people you can learn from and who can learn from you, with everybody actively trying to level up their knowledge to bring more to the group.
- Who in your five are you learning from?
- What are the others in your group of five trying to learn just now?
- Who are you sharing your expertise with in your group of five?
You know that game where you are trying to find a hidden object in a room and the person who hid it gives you the cues as to whether you’re getting “warmer” or “colder”. Can you imagine playing that game where all the feedback was you got was “you’re doing really well, keep going”…? That’s why you need both positive and negative feedback. And I purposefully saying negative rather than ‘constructive’ because you need to hear it raw. Then you can determine its validity and decide whether you need to work constructively, and with the group, on your solution.
Receiving negative feedback is hard but remember that equally it is difficult for most people to give it. The best way to do it therefore is to have it as a matter of principle in your group and be explicit about when you want it.
- Who in your five has given you negative feedback?
- Who in your five have you given negative feedback to?
- What is your mechanism for getting feedback from your five people?
The impact of culture is undeniable. If you’ve been abroad for more than 5 minutes you will have seen the differences in how things are done and the expectations. You’ll also recall the different workplace cultures you were in and you’ll know which ones brought the best out in you. The mini-culture in your group of five is critical.
- How would you describe the norms of your group of five?
- Why do those norms suit your way of working?
- What are you doing right now that strengthens those norms?
This links all of the other three points together. You should be learning so you can raise your game, getting feedback on what you’re doing and encouraging each other in a high performance culture. All of this needs to take place in the context of your own personal challenge.
- What is the challenge that you have set yourself?
- Who in your group of five is working on a challenge that inspires you?
- Which of them is pushing you to become more than you are?
If you’ve gone through this and you’ve got your five mapped out then great, you already know the difference they make to you. If you don’t then I suggest you take 10 minutes to write down what group norms would help to drive you forward and what type of people you want in there.
It’s not easy to find the right five. It can be hard to find even one of them. If you want to increase your chances then you should take our four week programme. It gives you the framework to change your mindset around learning, feedback and challenge. It will connect you with a group that can raise your norms, people who want to see what they are capable of. You can start to build a group of mutual benefit which brings out the best in you and in them.
Find your five and raise your game. Or keep doing it the way you’ve always done it.
Make your choice.