You might think that surrounding yourself with people who are just like you is a recipe for success, but it’s not. Or you might think that staying away from people who challenge you or make you angry sometimes is healthy, but it’s not.
The smartest strategy for you and your business is to surround yourself with people who have the positive strengths that you lack. Here are skills that will help grow your business and how to recognize them in the right people:
Firecrackers are witty, charismatic, and always full of ideas. They have tons of energy and are always popping off at the mouth.
At first glance, you might mistakenly label a firecracker as arrogant or rude. But in reality these people are incredibly good-hearted and always want to bring out the best in others. Sure, they are feisty, bold, and quick to challenge you, but they do so in a fun and encouraging way.
In business, firecrackers add incredible value to any sales and marketing team. Don’t worry about these people ruining your professional reputation. They are exactly what you need to keep your products and services fresh and exciting.
The clown is the evil counterpart of the firecracker: they use their boldness, wit, and charisma to pull others down with manipulation and mocking. Kick these people out of your business and life. You’ll be better off for it.
Oracles are those rare people who can see the end from the beginning. They are visionaries who live rich internal lives and who can look at everything from a bird’s eye view.
Visionaries like Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin can predict or even change the course of humanity with their long-term mindsets.
Mystics, on the other hand, are fake oracles. They promote visions that make people feel good but are not at all based in reality. These people will tell you that you don’t need a purpose or a plan and that the “Universe” will take care of you as long as you relax, have fun, and are always nice.
The ironic thing is that most mystics are people who have worked exceptionally hard in the past to build a large platform and to achieve financial independence. But now, instead of telling others the truth about how they achieved success, they lie and say that the Universe will just give everyone whatever they want. Don’t buy into this. It’s simply a high-level ruse used to hold others back.
If Steve Jobs was the oracle at Apple, then Steve Wozniak was the wizard. Wizards are innovators. They are the scientists, engineers, and architects behind the world’s most amazing inventions. These people do the most difficult thing in the world–create something from nothing.
No matter what you’re trying to build, wizards will help you build it better and faster. Wizards make up the brilliant R&D, programming, and design teams at the world’s top companies. Without wizards, all ideas would waste away.
Like the wizard, the magician is a creator. The difference is magicians create fake or inferior products using smoke and mirrors to sell these products to the unsuspecting public. Magicians include those people who take someone else’s product or content and pawn it off as their own. Instead of repurposing and improving the work of others, they simply rebrand and ship it.
Linguists are people who excel at wordplay. They are able to organize their thoughts into oral and written forms of communication to motivate, entertain, and teach other people.
Modern day linguists are authors, bloggers, public speakers, columnists, scientific writers, and communicators of all types. You might be tempted to take these people for granted, especially in today’s world where content has become a commodity. This is a mistake.
Whoever creates the stickiest content controls the conversation. From memes to mission statements to memos, communication is what keeps ideas, product, services, and actions on the top of people’s minds and at the tip of their tongues. In business, the best communicators are always hired first. If you lack this skillset, surround yourself with people who have it and learn from them.
Gurus also have a way with words and are great communicators and influencers. The problem is that they’re communicating pure fluff–nothing they say is concrete or actionable. Today’s business world is full of all kinds of gurus and life coaches. Be careful to keep the fluffy ones out of your company. They’ll distract you, drive your business into the ground, and leave you standing there to pick up the pieces.
Connectors are those people who have dipped into a vast array of diverse groups, who know people from businesses or parts of the world that you’ve never even heard of, and who work with them towards a shared goal to make really big things happen.
When you get stuck in life, it’s the connector who will know the perfect person to help you get unstuck. Stay close to the connectors in your life. They make incredible managers. They also throw the best parties.
Battering rams are entrepreneurs in the purest sense. They are gladiators who can get beat down again and again and again and keep coming back for more. They are the ones who refuse to hesitate when faced with failure, insult, or isolation.
Don’t misunderstand the battering rams in your life. Their intensity and overconfidence are simply the reinforcements they need to stay strong while they are bashing against the walls of new frontiers. If you find yourself lacking initiative in any way, start surrounding yourself with as many battering rams as possible. These people know how to execute and will get a job done no matter how many walls are in their way.
Encyclopedias are exceptionally structured and exquisitely detail oriented. These people excel in implementing and sustaining professional systems and processes. They are the oil that keeps all organizations running smoothly.
Encyclopedias are the easiest people to take for granted. They operate under the radar and take care of very tactical operations. But, they are still incredibly important. To understand just how important these people are, compare your worst customer service experience to your best customer service experience. The difference between the two is nothing more than the operating procedures maintained by the encyclopedias at each respective company.
If details put you to sleep, then you need to get an encyclopedia in your life as soon as possible. Encyclopedias will keep your business organized and help you hit the tactical benchmarks that you might be overlooking.
Similar to encyclopedias, busybodies are extremely organized and detail-oriented. The problem is that they’re obsessed with the wrong kinds of details. Instead of being focused on improving professional systems and processes, these people are focused on putting out fires and perpetuating gossip. They’re always busy, but never productive. And they constantly cry about not getting the credit they deserve. Keep these people out of your business at all costs.
Hackers are half oracle and half encyclopedia. They are able to see both the overall vision for a business as well as the processes that keep the vision in place.
They are those people who can deconstruct these processes, test each piece individually, and then put the best components back together to create better vision for the future.
Unlike the hacker, instead of gathering data and performing actual science, the quack skims the work of others, uses pseudoscience to make money off of others, and lacks the patience and the intelligence to dig deeply into a particular system.
If you don’t have the time to test the various parts of your business or life, then start making friends with some hackers. If you’re not hacking, you’re slipping.
—Dr. Isaiah Hankel is the author of Black Hole Focus and an international speaker who helps businesses transform their employees into focused entrepreneurs.