Every person can only do so much. They each have their own level of incompetence in one way or another. The same goes in business. Your employees could be great at one thing but fail with other things. You might have promoted someone but find that they’re not doing better because you assigned them at a rather different job skill. As a result, your entire company will also sit at a level of incompetence. The way to break through from that and promote yourself to success is by following your success wheel. Learn what it is and the buckets you need to fill to achieve growth.
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This episode is about incompetence. It’s based on a series of events that Kerri and I lived through at the LA City Gala. We were asked by Ryan Long to come in and speak on business acceleration. Specifically, how does a mature company with 100 employees and after being around for 25 years, all of a sudden, starts hitting the Inc. 5000 list. It goes against all business practices. Usually, an upstart makes the Inc. 5000 list not as an existing company. We prepped what was to be one slide and we gave a 25-year rendition on things that we bumped into during our growth phase and how we overcame them.
As it goes, Ryan calls up and he says, “We need you to speak on business acceleration.” I said, “Do you want me to talk about starting from a dead-stop, starting an upstart, and then accelerating through, or do you want me to talk to mature business people?” He knew instantly what I was asking. He said, “The audience is mostly 95% mature business owners. Please explain how to accelerate from their jog to a full sprint.” On the plane ride out, we switched our presentation from little bitty growth nuggets of what would be eight to ten different things people could do along with their journey to taking a hard, introspective look at our last nine years.
Where did we hit our head? What did we bump into that slowed us down in a way that almost pushed us backward? When it all was said and done, what kept coming back and coming back is a business cliché that goes like this, “He was promoted to his level of incompetence.” “What happened to Sally?” “She was promoted to a level of incompetence, thus, she quit.” In a larger corporation with 200 people or more, a company that has a tight and strong organizational chart, often star players are promoted very quickly. At some point, either that promotion or the promotion after that, they hit a wall and all of the upper management wonders, “What happened to this person?”
It is not all the time that the best salesperson could make a great manager nor an engineer be customer support. People can only do so much. Click To Tweet
If you understand the psychology of how a corporate culture stays together and thrives, you’ll understand that not always does the best salesperson make a great, even a good manager. Not always does the best engineer transition into customer support. When it’s all said and done, every person has a level of incompetence. Meaning there’s only so much that they know and there’s only such a position that they can get promoted to.
Here’s where this went 90 degrees when we run stage. While my wife, Kerri, was talking, I’m sitting in the back and I said, “There’s no point in saying this new idea that I have, but it is going to make an incredible podcast.” While Kerri was talking about exactly the areas we bumped our head in, which is going to be in Episode 260 and Episode 261, I was sitting there writing to myself, “Every person does get promoted to their level of incompetence, but much more significant is that every single company promotes themselves to the company’s level of incompetence.”
Let me put some parameters around this so it can make some more sense because there might be new people to this podcast and haven’t heard older episodes like The Success Wheel. It’s in the top ten downloaded of all time for good reasons. In my life, there are five critical components to my personal growth which have led to this company’s growth. First is that I realized at a young age there was so much I didn’t know. Out of fear, what’s called FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out, I started attending every conference that came to the suburbs in Chicago. I even went all over the country chasing some of these people down to hear them speak. Every single time a great speaker would recommend the books that got them where they’re going, and I said, “Wait a minute, that’s interesting,” I would then study all of the books of all of these great speakers, great teachers, great orders, and I would chase these books down.
Many times I would go to the Rosemont Convention Center, hear two incredible speakers, and before I got home, I went to Barnes & Noble Borders or Crown Books and I would absorb every possible book written by those authors. First, I’d go to conferences, that was bucket number one at the bottom left of my success wheel. At the top left of my success wheel, I began absorbing books like there’s no tomorrow. The top of my success wheel, the tip of the star pointing north, was intellectual property. These conferences and these books filled me up so aggressively and so quickly. When I would enter a room just a couple of years later, it was very clear that I could hold my own in a conversation with business people twenty, 30, 40 years, my senior.
Quite often at some of these events, by the end of the two or three-day event, people were huddled around me in a corner wondering, “How do I do this? What do you recommend here?” The only reason that people would huddle around me is I can comfortably say I had read 100 times more books in that given space than all the people asking me questions. The top of my success wheel is intellectual property. The top right of my success wheel is people. After a couple of years going around the success wheel and attending many conferences and reading hundreds of books on sales, marketing, management, and business development, I began attracting some of the greatest people to come work for a company. Some of the greatest vendors to partner with, some of the greatest affiliates to partner with, and some of the greatest people that wanted us to do business with them.
That led me to bucket number five, the bottom right of my success wheel. I call that bucket Real Business. When you go to the conferences, you read the books that are recommended, and you fill your brain in your niche with intellectual property beyond anybody in the room, you are going to become magnetic to some of the greatest people out there. Those people are going to bring you some business, that is my personal success wheel.
There are some people in other countries and they can’t get to a conference. It could be eight hours away, so you rely on books, digital audiobooks, videos on YouTube, and a lot of classes through some 30, 60, and 90-minute courses online. That’s your one and two of your success wheel. No matter what your input is, number three is intellectual property. If you do one, two, and three right, you will become magnetic to the people around you.
You are sitting right now in your level of incompetence, in your job, position, company, which is you Inc. if you’re a one-person shop. Your company, if you have 100 employees or 5,000, is absolutely sitting in its level of incompetence. The only way you’re going to break through and give yourself a promotion is when you jam on success wheel bucket number one and bucket number two. That’s going to fill bucket number three with IP and you will promote yourself.
Every person has a level of incompetence. Click To Tweet
You can escalate this if you have a number of employees, by having them understand what the success wheel is, having them listen to the podcast Success Wheel and having them listen to this podcast, they then go on their own journey. They are all different people, so they’re all going to have a different success wheel. If they work on your team, all of those success wheels congregate, collaborate, and communicate together to form a massive success wheel for your company. When you do it collectively and pull on the same rope your company promotes itself.
You can fast-track this the second way by you ripping through your own success wheel and go around and around. Try to jam in five to ten years into one to two years by studying every night when everybody else is watching TV or playing on Facebook and studying every weekend when everybody else is farting around and playing baseball and catch. You can study and study and do what my wife and I did, we sacrificed our twenties, had no friends, and didn’t drink. We just pounded it so that we can live an incredible life in our 30’s, 40’s, and the rest of our life, but we chose to sacrifice. We did not realize that was escalating and catapulting our success wheel.
You can make up a lot of lost ground and promote your company by jamming on number one and number two of the success wheel. There’s another way to do it and that is when you escalate and go around this wheel a couple few times quickly, you will become hyper-magnetic. You will attract great, powerful, and influential people. They end up bringing their success wheel with them and those relationships, leveraging other people’s success wheel can rock your company into another promotion.