Developing Your Support Team

True and ideal support is when those who provide support understand what is important to you. They willingly expend their energy to help you achieve your goals and attain your vision. Whether they are compensated or not is irrelevant.

What is important is that you work together as both peers and equals rather than in a two tiered relationship.

They have an underlying determination to learn, to grow, and to share. They do not dictate to you or ridicule you. They are responsible and accountable.

When you have a team of such individuals, you’ll have teamwork, cooperation, and synergy. When that happens and there is a mutual focus of energy, you’ll have people who are as committed to your success as you are. And all will benefit.

Who can be on your team? Family members. Friends. Experts in various areas. People who have had experiences similar to yours. The critical factors are that they hold core values congruent with your own and possess a level of commitment that matches yours. In addition to seeking individuals whose values, integrity, and behavior harmonize with yours, look for those with special talents and skills that you don’t have, but you need, to help you make better decisions. For example, if you sometimes have a problem communicating exactly how you feel about a particular situation, a person with high communications skills should possibly be on your support team.

Members of your support team can help you:

Brainstorm a goal, option, or course of action.

Get things done more efficiently and more effectively.

Save you time, energy, and money by sharing their experiences.

Meet others outside of your own network.

Provide comfort in time of need.

Many Support Teams May Be Needed

As you begin developing your support team, it’s important to identify the areas in which you need help. You can have many sub support teams to help with specific projects. For instance, using an example outside of trading for illustrative purposes, if you plan on building a new home, one of the areas in which you may need help is in evaluating those with whom you will be signing contracts the architect, the construction company, the banker, and the insurance company. This support team would also include friends who have had experience building their own homes or professionals with home-building track records.

After you have identified and defined the types of support team members you need, look to family, friends, and acquaintances to determine who may fit those profiles. This process of identifying needs and then matching the needs to people is vital to the successful formation of a support team.

You are doing two very important things at the same time.

First, you’re identifying your needs or the deficiencies of your current support team, and determining the specific talents and skills needed.

Second, you’re clarifying in your mind the kind of person you want on your support team an action that makes it much easier to find the people you want.

Now, how will you bring all these ideas and concepts together?

First, clearly define the core values of your prospective support team member. There are many ways to do it, but I don’t believe you’ll find them in any “how to” on interviewing.

Second, in addition to a direct interview, you’ll find out a lot more about your prospective support team member at a family or informal setting. Many times basic compatibility can be discovered far better at such times than across a desk in an office. In those more re-laxed moments, you can observe many more clues to a person’s real values, and can measure them against your own. By watching a person’s interaction with others, you may be better able to determine how he will interact with you. And, a technique used very effectively in many situations is to participate in some activity (golf, tennis, etc.) and observe the individual’s behavior and comments in different situations noting they are, in most cases, representative of his or her values and validating behaviors.

The Ideal Support Team

What are you looking for? How do you define your ideal support team. What qualities and basic values make an ideal support team member? For me, the individuals I enjoy being around and working with are those who:

Consistently communicate in an open, honest, and timely manner—they don’t package.

Demonstrate will power and discipline through thinking, decision-making, and interactions with others.

Embrace responsibility and accountability: Make things happen as they said they would or they say, “What can I do to make it right if I caused you a hardship or a problem?

Are there when you need them even though it may be inconvenient.

Don’t gossip and have an optimistic view of themselves, others, and the world.

Don’t assume that they know what you’re thinking—they seek clarification and understanding.

Live with integrity, and are honest and trusting in their relationships knowing they are not perfect.

Are self-motivated and continuously learn, grow, and persist in pursuing what living has to offer.

Anticipate—rather than react—and don’t blame circumstances on bad luck or others.

Take charge of themselves and use mistakes as steps to growth.

Live with an inner confidence about who they are as a person—not their external accomplishments.

Possess other values and attributes congruent and compatible with your own.

They are quite the individuals! Not surprisingly, such people “like” themselves and their image. That doesn’t mean they’re egotists or bores, but that they are comfortable with themselves and confident in the decisions they make.

People like that gravitate to others who are similar. They may not consciously ask whether their values are the same or go through a mental checklist of “I believes” one by one, but they are attuned to signals which tell them when they have met a kindred soul. When this “meeting of the minds” occurs, there is an opportunity for commitment on a level that says, “My support is unconditional.” Yet that support will not take a form which violates the integrity or responsibility of the person being supported. And the support will flow in both directions. This is power; this again is cooperation, teamwork, synergy.

As Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, once said: “Don’t make friends who are comfortable – make friends who force you to lever up.”

Until next time . . .