If you want to be successful, it seems to make sense to get around successful people. The people we are around have an immeasurable impact on us. It’s one of the major themes in my book, The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future.
That’s why I was drawn to Leo Bottary’s new book, What Anyone Can Do: How Surrounding Yourself with the Right People Will Drive Change, Opportunity, and Personal Growth. He covers this important aspect of success. Success is available to everyone who pursues it with discipline. I recently spoke with Leo about his work.
The Importance of Peers
Since it is so central to your area of study and expertise, would you start by talking about the importance of peers. Why does it matter more than ever?
Trust in our institutions is low across the board (business, government, media and even non-governmental organizations) — because of this, it creates a vacuum. If we can’t trust our institutions, where else do we turn? For example, in the workplace, employees were found to trust their co-workers more than either the CEO or any of the senior leadership team members (Edelman Trust Barometer). When we lack trust in our institutions, and the people who lead them, we look to one another for reliable counsel. It’s why in today’s environment, our peers matter more than ever. It also points to why it’s so essential for leaders to communicate horizontally as well as vertically. The biggest influencers in today’s organizations are not always identified by job title. In an era where creating “alignment” is the challenge of the day in so many of today’s companies, getting ALL your key influencers involved early and often is essential to making real alignment possible.
What is the Aspen Effect and what does it teach us about leadership?
The Aspen Effect speaks to a phenomenon in nature. We see individual Aspen trees, yet it’s not evident they share a common root system and that thousands of Aspen trees can be one organism. We are all connected. If we thought of ourselves more often in terms of being part of a larger whole, we would be more successful more often.
“We need our peers more than ever. The less we trust institutions, the more we must rely on one another.” -Leo Bottary