Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who's In Your Starting Five?

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

I read this quote recently and begin to think about the people I spend the most time with as a leader.  I believe that you should always surround yourself with people who make you better.  I also believe in surrounding yourself with people who think differently and push you to stretch your thinking.  

As a leader you can only lead people as far as you have gone yourself.  That's why it is critical to continually re-evaluate your "starting five" to determine if they are helping to develop you as a leader.  

The book The Wisdom of Crowds touches on some of these key points.  These are four factors that make up a wise crowd or an all star starting five.

Diversity of opinionEach person should be an independent thinker 
IndependencePeople's opinions aren't determined by the opinions of those around them.
DecentralizationPeople are able to specialize and draw on local knowledge.
AggregationSome mechanism exists for turning private judgments into a collective decision.

I actually think about the five people quote in two different ways.  First, there are the five people that I have the most face to face time with.  These are the people who are on your leadership team, executive team, etc.  These are the key decision makers who you rely on to get a project done.  Are you surrounded by the right people?  

The second way involves the importance of a Personal Learning Network (PLN).  The five people I spend the most time with really depends on the project, area of interest, topic discussed, etc.  The best thing about having a PLN is that you have unparalleled access to experts in all educational fields.  In this way I become infinitely smarter with my starting five.  I am able to garner resources, ask questions, discuss obstacles, and take advantage of opportunities.  I often wonder how I ever operated without the benefit of my PLN.

Who is in your starting five?  Take a look at those five people.  Are you okay with your average?  Is it enough to move your organization forward?  How can you leverage the collective wisdom of this group to transform learning?

1 comment:

  1. The idea of a "starting 5" is interesting. It leaves me thinking about how I might get more face time with folks that inspire me to stay on course with the important work of educating students. I plan to use this question with my staff to encourage them to think about thier own starting 5 and also who's line up they show up in.