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  • Jeremy Cooper

You're with the wrong people!

There is a saying that you're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with and this is very true as your expectations and values start to level with theirs which is great if you align with those values but can also become a limiting factor.  Too low and you never progress but too high and you feel inferior or a failure


I believe the key to success and progression is to split your time between different group to get the most benefit to you and to help serve others. 


You should spend:

  • 1/3 of your time with people at the same level as you

  • 1/3 with people that are further ahead/up than you

  • 1/3 of people behind/below you.


The reasons for this are:


Spending time with a group of people on the same level as you e.g. peers, means that you can discuss common challenges that you see at your level, you can learn a few new things and teach a few bits.  These are kind of like your support network


Next you spend time with people further ahead, at work this could be peers to your manager or anyone up the CIO or senior business.  This is very important as you receive insight into where you want to get to, learn new ideas and also get exposure to that level as you need to get your name/face out there to be successful


Finally you need to spend time with people lower down in the organisation than you.  This can be direct reports or their direct reports but also people from other areas.  This is critical to your success as you can do several things here:

  • Help them to develop their career by providing insight and coaching, much like you're getting from speaking with more senior staff

  • It is a massive motivator for them as they are getting access to a senior member of staff

  • You will learn a lot about what is really going on in the organisation

  • You will start to spot talent that you can help develop and trust to do work.  In the future you'll be able to delegate tasks which will free up your time to work on more critical work, but they benefit from the opportunity also


All these activities will provide great progress for work; however, they are amazing for your mindset.  Spending this time, you quickly realise that leaders are human and don't have all the answers and that you're sitting on a mountain of knowledge that you think is trivial but is hugely beneficial to others.


Don't waste that knowledge, share it!