Join the Lamborghini Club: Career Trajectory is Governed by the Company You Keep

“Before you start, let me remind you that you are expected to obey the rules of the road.’ And with that final word from the organizer of Royal Rally – a travelling scavenger hunt that would cover 750km in a single day – we were off. As fifty supercars, tuners and a monster truck roar to life, you can’t help but feel your pulse accelerate!

When I’m driving by myself, I’m pretty disciplined about my speed, but in the company of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and a pack of Dodge Hellcats, a switch is flipped. Adrenaline surges and you feel the need to exercise the engine just a bit more.

Inversely, when surrounded by police officers (a longer story), the urge to slow down and blend with traffic is paramount.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the same thing. In the presence of excellence you want to push yourself harder. Work a bit longer; Spend more time getting it right. When we hang out with people at the same level doing similar tasks, the urge to excel declines. We can’t get a fix on the next target because everyone is focused on working within the existing rules.

I’ve been tracking a number of companies that have kicked off major changes in strategy by replacing people at the top (e.g., Goldman Sachs). To move in a different direction it’s often faster to replace people than try and have them change their values, attitudes, and behaviors that have been embedded over years.

Changing Your Mind
The same lesson applies to us. When you want to shift gears and attach a rocket pack to your new direction, you need a new pit crew, a new set of cheerleaders, a new coach. Hanging out with people attached to your ‘old life’ – those who reinforce the status quo – will not help push you in the direction you need to go. I’m not saying you need to dump all your friends. I’m saying you need to be intentional about who can help you reach your goals.

Take 15 minutes and think through the following:

  • What are my career goals for the next 2 to 3 years?
  • Who in my current peer group has already achieved the goals I’m trying to reach or is on the same journey and succeeding?
  • Who can provide expertise in areas I want to develop?
  • Who will call me out: Challenge me when I’m slacking off, fooling myself or doing something questionable?

My goals demand that I have a career coach, spiritual advisor, financial advisor, and two additional sounding boards. You may need a nutritionist, industry specialist, or speaking coach in yours. It took two years for me to complete my ‘crew’ and I’m still building.

Where is your super group? Who is going to help you accelerate? Don’t slow yourself down by hanging out with the wrong crowd. Invest your time wisely, developing the right mix of people to meet your social and career needs. Be intentional about the company you keep. I’d love to hear about your private club!

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper

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