Surround Yourself with People Who Are Better Than You


Last week we talked about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people who you can hold hands with and run. That is a perfect segue into the topic for today.

This week’s Pearl is: “In order to succeed, you must surround yourself with people who are better than you.” Let me explain.

When my partner and I started growing our company, she and I balanced each other well. We performed well in our primary areas of focus, but were also successful in at least one other functional area. She had a degree in mathematics, was very good at detailed work, and was articulate with great people skills. I also have a degree in mathematics but was primarily a visionary with a natural positive mental attitude. I also worked well technical details and could write. So my partner worked the detail accounting and focused on keeping the company on the road, while I focused on marketing, business development, and proposals. We worked collaboratively on deliverables.

Applying the Pearl

Though we complemented each other early on, we still understood the importance of leadership diversity. It became obvious after a while that we could handle only a certain level of the work ourselves. We knew that in order to continue on our desired business trajectory, we needed to find additional talent that could support what we were doing, help grow our company, and at the same time diversify our offering base. We performed our new business growth strategy and developed projections assessing where we wanted to take the company. That is when we really started our self-evaluations and overlaid that with our diversification plan. This led to identifying people, better than us, with experience and talent we didn’t have but would need in order to expand.

Think on this concept and keep in mind the following as you grow your company:

  • If you are just starting, look at yourself and factor your strengths and weaknesses into your leadership team growth.
  • Constantly assess your leadership team’s strengths and weaknesses and have the results of that assessment in mind as you meet people and contemplate growing your leadership team.
  • As your leadership team grows, search for individuals with multiple skill-set strengths.

Becoming comfortable with this leadership growth strategy will require that you perform some self-evaluation and realize that you do not have to know everything or be smarter than everybody you bring into your company. Given that you’re OK with yourself and you know how to honor people who are better than you in certain areas, then their knowledge, experience, and strengths are optimized for your company and your focus becomes motivating them. If you do this well you will find yourself surrounded by an extraordinary team that respects you for your insight. They will inevitably, as we’ve said before, hold hands with you and run.

What experiences have you had relative to the concept of surrounding yourself with people that are better than you? Have you heard the statement and what was your reaction to it?