Part 2: The why and HOW of creating your edge team

Momentously Ross and Jonathan did their first joint podcast this month and this is a 2-part summary of that. It discusses a) the reasons for surrounding yourself with people who know more than you do and also b) the practicalities of how you go about it. It’s fascinating stuff and based on the premise that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ so maybe most of us think we know all we need to?

Note: your ‘edge team’ is your own specific team of people who contribute to your life and collectively give you a big advantage in terms of progression and performance.

Part 2 – how do I build my edge team?

When you build your team of trusted advisers it is always a leap of faith. They are more than likely to be people who have been recommended to you. Listening to Ross and Jonathan speaking in their podcast it was evident that their circles of support had been borne from experiences and personal recommendation. There was no evidence of hunting down these heroes online – they had been found organically – and that’s a really good, reassuring place to start.

The advice in building your circle is to start small. Acknowledge a pressing challenge and allocate someone to help you with it. Find the right kind of person by asking people whose opinion you respect for ideas on who they’d use. Each problem or difficulty presents in a variety of ways so the professional for the job might be different each time. Jonathan works in property and has three different legal brains to help with specific things. One is known for getting stuff done really quickly for example. The same applies to his physio. He knows what the issue is and turns to a known associate for resolution.

Another aspect to team building is to know when it’s time to change and move on. As your business grows so your needs are likely to move in different directions and – whatever was appropriate before – might cease to be useful going forward (WARNING: football analogy spoiler alert at this point in the podcast!).

When you have your experts in place, use their knowledge. Push them. Ask questions. It’s no good having people to help you if you aren’t sharing and explaining. Ask for their advice. You only know what you know so there’s no shame at all in not having all the answers.

Try different people. You aren’t committed to anyone. Relationship building is important but it shouldn’t stop you from trying different approaches. You may find a better fit. Like a favourite restaurant, you’ll be a loyal customer but it’s expected that you’ll also try other places. Complacency and comfort are often the enemies of change and progress.

Returning to the concept of investment (see part 1), choose your advisers on the basis of value and not cost. If you pay your accountants handsomely and way over the odds, it’s well worth it when your tax is keenly assessed and you retain a satisfying amount of income. That’s the difference between investment and cost.

Take ownership of your edge team. Put the work in to find who you need. Ask lots of questions and assess it often. You are the sum of the people who surround you and they’ll have a huge impact on your outputs. Leave your area of comfort and raise your expectations. How do other people do things? What can you learn?

One most important aspect to creating a winning team is to leave your office. Meet people. Connect. Talk and see what happens. Casual conversations yield amazing things. You can’t do everything by yourself – sorry to repeat this but it is true.

Jonathan advises that you should start small and build from there. Think about your biggest challenges right now and focus on your ‘blockers’, don’t look at everything. Unblock one thing at a time and that will create the momentum to work on the next thing.

Ross advocates sharing the good stuff. Tell others about who has helped you and spread the positivity of your own experiences.

In fact Ross joined a workspace that inspired him to move forward with Ascend360 with Jonathan. With an open mind he saw potential and the possibility of a new venture. It made him level up and move in a new direction. “I achieved more in four months than I did in a whole year as Jonathan persuaded me to invest in the business. It was a leap of faith and so much so that I relay this experience to my clients now” he commented.

Another example of Ascend360 putting this into action is through its investment in marketing. They worked with a marketing professional who guided them through the initial stages of proper branding, a website, an online brochure, social media and event management. Comically, there’s a hint of gentle bullying as you listen to the experience on the podcast but there’s no doubt that this uncomfortable ‘expense’ was actually an investment. This person knew what was needed and guided the business owners accordingly. Another salient point made about this relationship was the importance of connection. Listening to your gut and knowing someone feels right for your business is vital.

As Ross points out – success leaves clues – speak to people who are living the life you want or who have what you want to achieve. Who do they use? What do they do? It can be surprising how close the right support is to you – possibly one or two contacts away, local and known to you.

Go now and start to create your edge team.

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