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Master motivator and original “influencer” Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Perhaps this was true when Jim Rohn shared it in the mid- to late-twentieth century. But nearly one-quarter of the way through the 21st century, perpetuating this myth of exclusivity is dangerous to the sustainability of your business.


Why This Matters To You

The reason buying into Rohn's statement proves false and dangerous to your leadership is that we humans unconsciously practice selective bias—we gravitate towards and prioritize people, situations, and states of thought that resonate with our own identity. We have only to look at our current polarized social and political environment to see the evidence of selective bias. 

The challenge is that the 21st century workforce is the most wide-reaching demographic in the history of the world. 


Consider that you are leading the richest tapestry of humans ever assembled: 

Traditionals, boomers, gen X, gen Y, millennials, gen Z, gig workers, consultants, remote/hybrid workers, socially-conscious, vastly diverse racial identities, gender-identities, differently-abled, neurodivergent, offshore teams, and global citizenry


With this rich diversity of identity, thought, capability and life-experience, can you truly afford to allow selective bias to lead simply based on the five people you are most familiar with?


How This Affects Your Business

The danger in limiting exposure to your “familiar five” is that you limit your options. You blind yourself to what’s truly possible in service to what’s familiar. And, in doing so, you hold back your organization’s growth.


As illustrated, you’re not running a company solely comprised of people just like you and the five people you spend the most time with!


Unfortunately, many leaders still take Rohn’s statement to heart and practice it in their decision-making, to the exclusion of basic, human nature and fundamental truth—we are social animals by our very nature and everyone brings something unique and valuable to the social tribe


By activating Rohn’s statement in our lives and our works, we remain insulated to highly-valuable multiplicity of people, situations and states of thought that exist all around us. We limit—and in many/most cases—de-prioritize or flat-out exclude the valuable insights, experiences, and contributions of others that do not neatly align with our selective bias. And, this action holds us back from achieving what’s truly possible within our organizations.


Leadership Growth Begins With Awareness

The good news is that you are both the problem, and the solution.

For one day this week, take a look around today and see who you prioritize—and de-prioritize—in your organization. Then, consider the following questions:


1.    Who do you allow highest access to you?

2.    Whose call will you take and whose call will you avoid?

3.    Do you frequently meet with associates at all levels of your organization with different viewpoints, life experiences and ways of thinking/seeing/being than you own?

4.    Are you open to listening if someone expresses a point-of-view different from your own?


A wise (and flawed) man once said, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” If today’s Executive Truth has given you pause, that’s great news! 


No leader has all the answers and we can each grow in our leadership until we arrive at a new truth: “When we know better, we’ll lead better.


If this leadership concern rings true for you, contact me today to schedule a complimentary, confidential discussion.


For more than two decades, heads of state, CEOs and Executive Leaders around the world have sought me out to serve as their trusted advisor. Let’s discuss how best to co-design a different, more effective way of leading that yields greater results and legacy, with increased fulfillment, satisfaction, and peace of mind.




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