The Influence of Experts

Hank is a talented practitioner and emerging leader who is expanding his professional practice into a business. The business is growing, but Hank is frustrated by the pace of growth and the obstacles that cross his path. As confident as his outward persona is, he experiences periods of self-doubt.

This isn’t at all unusual; in fact, many of my clients have had similar experiences. As Hank and I dug through what he perceives to be the obstacles to his success, I learned that he has been strongly influenced by some prominent business “gurus”.

The problem is that advice dispensed by gurus is often general and doesn’t necessarily apply to your specific situation. It is important to objectively evaluate and filter the opinions of such influencers.

This is not to dilute their influence or importance of people we admire. Rather, it is to emphasize the need to sort through and apply the advice that makes sense for you, and discard what isn’t relevant.

As an alternative approach, one of the exercises I recommend to leaders is to create a composite leadership profile: pick five proven leaders you admire and identify one specific characteristic that you admire about each person.

For example, one leader may have an exceptional ability to create and execute a vision; another may be outstanding in selecting and developing strong team members. Instead of following the lead of one guru, you take the opportunity to craft your ideal leadership profile.

By doing and finetuning this exercise, you become clearer about what is important to you as a leader.

Hank grasped this immediately, and I could sense his energy shift as he talked about who has inspired him and how these people have contributed to his success. He became more excited and passionate as he developed what turned into his personal success formula.

He hadn’t lost or forgotten what made him successful; it had become diluted by applying advice that wasn’t entirely relevant. Focus on what is truly meaningful to you, not just the latest hype.

Header image by Alex Green/Pexels.

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