• Surround yourself with smart people

  • In The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Harvey Schachter quotes Peggy Cunningham, Dean of Management at Dalhousie University in Halifax who says “…surround yourself with smart people who have different perspectives and different skills. Listen to them respectfully and attentively, draw out their ideas, and work to integrate their perspectives into your plans and solutions to problems.”

    We have all heard this before and agree that it is great advice. However, there is not always the option to change members of our team for smarter people.  This raises the question of what to do when you don’t have a choice, or decide to work with what you have?

    Many of the associates you depend on, whether they report to you or not, for your and your business’ success, cannot be changed for smarter people and so your success is often dependent on what you do to maximize their ability to support you.  This often is based on their ability to perform and think more strategically, usually aimed at business growth. The coaching I provide to clients often includes helping them to develop their strategic thinking, i.e. how to look at the long-term perspective of the company’s success and set achievable, realistic goals that deal with the ability of the business to succeed in the long-term (defined differently for different roles and different strategies).

    The challenge often is to help the client with business growth by putting into perspective, those urgent matters that are consuming their attention in the short-term, and then to find ways that will enable them to focus on the strategic objectives required to achieve success for the future of the business.

    Back to the challenge of how to manage with what you have: First focus your attention on your long-term goals e.g. how to grow your business. Then ensure that those who surround you are doing the same. Do this by managing or influencing their goal-setting to include projects that have a long-term perspective and then mentor and monitor their progress.

    If your team is not fulfilling the needs of your business and need guidance, please contact me me at 905-731-8255 or James@MastermindSolutions.ca

    James Phillipson is a Chartered Accountant and a Principal of Mastermind Solutions Inc. with over twenty years experience in large and small businesses.  He has provided financial counseling to his clients since 1996, often in the role of a Controller or Chief Financial Officer, for both public and private corporate clients.  James has experience in financial roles in a wide variety of businesses and industries.  This includes several large corporations and many medium-sized public and private companies.