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Our EnQ Circle of Influence
Those we surround ourselves with, within our business leadership roles, are our circles of influence. We need to be conscious about who they are, what they mean to us and why they are there.
Within the environment of entrepreneurship and business leadership, we deal with aspects of invention, ingenuity, risk, failure and successes along our journey. But these aspects do not define the nature of entrepreneurship; they are merely the props on the stage we are standing on. The definition of entrepreneurship for most of us will be more about why we are on the stage, which stage we want to be on, how big we want it to be, and how many others we will lead from our stage.
And who else is also on our stage, standing behind us or in the wings? Their presence is also critical to where we land, and the value and experience of our journey. When I started my own business, I was heavily influenced by a work colleague who sat me down one day and told me, “Sandy, the most important thing in life is to make stuff you money”. Well, this is the polite version, but I knew what he meant and being 23 years old and vulnerable to the bigger decisions being made around me that had considerable impact on my own life, I knew that what he really meant was that we had to be financially strong if we were really going to create our own choices. And he was right. In that same company, I had the privilege of attending an in depth course about effective leadership which gave me all the tools to focus my mind and control my thoughts to inspire the actions necessary towards where I wanted to go and most importantly, understand why I wanted to go there.
Early in my journey, when funds were tight, I read as many books as I could on personal development subjects to keep my energies and creativity up. In terms of my early years, these influences were my chosen circle of influence. There were many more who lobbied for positions, but were relegated to the outskirts of my circle as they were of the opinion that our business would never work, that it was more responsible to stay employed and that we were crazy to try.
And so we have to consciously select and often refresh our circle of influence as we grow as business leaders. We will outgrow some, whilst others remarkably stay with us no matter where we are on our own journey. Here are the common traits of those I have the privilege of having on my stage, in my circle of influence:
They will tell me what I need to know, not what I want or sometimes think that I need to hear
Their own lives are a reflection of their values and their beliefs. Whether or not they align with mine, they are authentic in theirs
They carry their own weight. Whilst we all need some help and comfort along the way, this is not a relationship based on need. It’s a relationship based on mutual encouragement and upliftment
They know different things to me and help me to see things with a fresh and enlightening perspective
They have my interests at heart. I know this because my doubts are always safe with them and, more importantly and uncommonly, so are my successes
Our relationship is authentic and respectful. By this I mean that they have no hidden agendas as to why they are interested in me. If it’s because they are offering me professional services, they are authentic in that. If it’s because they are my friend, they are authentic in that too and they mix the two respectfully when the lines blur, which often happens
We also have different depths of circles of influence. These depths include: physical support, emotional support, intellectual support and gender support.
Whilst the EnQ Lion is genderless in terms of the approach to the tools and learning, there is no doubt that as a woman I do spend more time personally in amongst the pride than my male counterparts. Accordingly, I have a circle of influence, which is all about being the best version of myself as a woman business leader. At the end of each year, I like to publish something just for the ladies in recognition that sometimes we do things differently and simply deal with different things. This year, I am delighted to be hosting a webinar with five guest presenters, who form my circle of influence, to share their expertise with you.