It is all about the people!

The people you surround yourself with determines how far you want to get and how far you will get! Like it or not the people around you are your daily sounding board and we tend to calibrate our ambitions, what we believe is achievable and what actions we take based on them. So, choose your peers wisely and make sure you meet them regularly. And choose who you hire wisely as well. This will be make or break for whatever goal you are working on achieving.

My friend and mentor Daniel Priestley put it in a nice way: “Environment dictates performance”, and he is absolutely right. And as a business leader looking to make the world a better place it is essential that you have people around you that dare to and are able to challenge, inspire and support you so you move faster and create bigger results – the world needs you to do so!

So, ask yourself: Does the people you have around elevate you, keep you where you are, or do they tend to reflect their lower standards on to you?

I have just come back from another four-day business retreat with the Dent Global community of entrepreneurs who are all extremely generous with their experiences, contacts, ambitions and input. Every encounter like that just elevates my game and makes me find new and smarter ways to service more people and create an bigger impact.

I found myself asking how I could do more to increase my impact on the world on the back of meeting entrepreneurs like the one on a quest to house 1 million vulnerable people in the UK, or the bookkeeper working on helping 1 million children out of poverty and tough childhoods raising. Still working out the details of my next move – more on that in a later article.

This is a community where it is the norm to write one or more books, create massive partnerships, grow your business substantial and create massive contributions. We define success differently than most groups.

Find the right peers

Surrounding yourself with the right people in business is crucial for any leader, especially for CEOs and C-suite executives in well-established manufacturing SMEs. This is because you are in well-established setup and structure, and it can make it hard to bring in the needed new perspectives and to hold yourself to a high enough standard.

The individuals you choose to engage with can significantly influence what you perceive as possible and achievable. This influence extends to your strategies, goals, and even the methodologies you believe are viable for attaining success. Let me exemplify:

  • Influence on Mindset and Vision: The people around you can greatly affect your outlook on business and innovation. Positive, forward-thinking individuals can encourage you to pursue ambitious sustainability goals, fostering a culture of innovation and resilience.
  • Strategic Alignment and Implementation: Aligning with individuals who share a commitment to sustainability ensures that strategic initiatives are not only proposed but effectively implemented. This alignment is critical in translating sustainability visions into tangible outcomes.
  • Enhanced Communication and Stakeholder Engagement: Effective communication is vital for the success of any sustainability initiative. Surrounding yourself with the right inspiration enables you to articulate your sustainability vision compellingly, engaging both internal and external stakeholders more effectively.
  • Learning and Growth: Being in the company of innovative and sustainability-driven individuals fosters a learning environment where best practices are shared, and continuous improvement is the norm. This environment is essential for staying ahead in the fast-evolving field of sustainable business and to increase your impact.
  • Increased Resilience and Competitive Advantage: The collective expertise and support of a well-chosen network can enhance your company’s resilience to external pressures and challenges, providing a competitive edge in the sustainability arena.

For CEOs and C-suite in SMEs, the focus should be on building a team and network that not only supports but actively contributes to the company’s development, vision, sustainability goals and your personal development. This approach not only drives business success but also ensures that the company positively impacts both society and the environment.

The good news is that there are many places where you can connect yourself with such forward-thinking people. You can buy your way into groups, networks or masterminds, or you find a personal or group coach to keep you moving forward at the right pace.

Hire the right people

There is much talk about hiring A-players and I find that most of it is kind of justified. The old phrase of ensure that you always hire people smarter than you still stands. A simple question you can ask yourself is if you would feel comfortable in delegating an important task to that potential employee. If not, there is a good chance they are not made of the kind of fabric you are looking for, for that particular position.

If so, continue your search! On an SME-team it becomes even more significant that every key position is occupied by an A-player. And I am not talking about just the leadership team. Manufacturing, product development, sales, marketing and so on are all areas that you need fill with A-players. I doesn’t matter if it is your direct team or some form of external long term collaboration, which I consider my extended team.

The question of course is how to hire A-players. I personally find the approach of Brad Smart (read the book “Foolproof hiring”) which is follow up by his son Geoff Smart with Randy Street (read their book “Who”. It is only recently I became aware of it through a recommendation coming from the previously mentioned community, but it has already power powerful over and over again both for me and people in the community.

Simple and straightforward jet very powerful. Check it out if you don’t know it.

Do you have a powerful group or coach around you?

If not – what are you going to do to get it?