Magazine article USA TODAY

Calling the Kitchen Cabinet: To Ensure Business-And Personal-Success, Surround Yourself with "Accomplished, Successful Individuals ... Not Nodding, Sycophantic Yes-Men."

Magazine article USA TODAY

Calling the Kitchen Cabinet: To Ensure Business-And Personal-Success, Surround Yourself with "Accomplished, Successful Individuals ... Not Nodding, Sycophantic Yes-Men."

Article excerpt

"SURROUND yourself with the best people you can find; delegate authority; and do not interfere." Pres. Ronald Reagan knew that you only are as good as the people you surround yourself with. He was intentional about how he built his team and we would be wise to follow the success of his example.

Leaders need to select the best people to be part of their team, and then invest in their personal growth, development, and success. Not only does that contribute to becoming stronger as a leader, but the team becomes stronger as well. Reagan sought to restore economic prosperity and opportunity in the U.S., and wanted to expand liberty by defeating communism around the world. He was able to make great strides in both areas thanks to his visionary leadership and the loyal efforts of those around him who shared his passion and vision. What is your vision? What can you accomplish by assembling and investing in the best team possible around you?

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, change is the only constant and we often feel that we need to reinvent ourselves and our business on a daily basis in order to stay relevant and competitive. As our focus often is consumed by social networking, our online presence, and perpetual innovation, as leaders we often neglect the most essential, fundamental component of our business success--the people who comprise our company or organization.

People remain the foundational backbone on which everything else is built--even today. Without the right people on your team, nothing else ultimately will matter. It is time to take a look at yourself as well as your team and trusted advisors to see if you have the people in place to help you accomplish your professional goals, meet your personal objectives, and fulfill your lifelong dreams. If you do not, then that team needs to be assembled --starting today.

Savvy leaders create an environment in which the synergy of a team can accomplish much more than the singular energy of one leader alone. Surrounding yourself with people who can play a positive and instrumental role in your life contributes to your success and is essential in helping you prioritize your life and make better decisions.

Success directly hinges on two crucial aspects--the people you surround yourself with in your personal and professional life, and the ways in which you invest in the growth and betterment of those around you.

Reagan believed in the power of people--all people. As a result, he worked diligently to find the best and brightest individuals for each area of his Administration, and created a lifelong brain trust around him that contributed to his ability to make informed, intelligent decisions and lead with confidence. He was not afraid of being outshined, and knew that the key to his effectiveness and success was having leaders in their respective fields join him and support his vision for America. He welcomed the brilliance and experience of those around him, rather than shunning it or being intimidated by it. What a good model for us to follow.

First, surrounding yourself with the right people who will help you pursue leadership excellence and achieve personal success involves what Reagan fondly referred to as his Kitchen Cabinet. While he was governor of California, as well as during his time in the White House, Reagan relied on his Kitchen Cabinet, a group of friends and accomplished individuals who were eager to apply their skills, energy, and experiences to advance the goals of their leader.

This group of about a dozen men was composed of strong advocates for the free market system and firm believers in core conservative principles. They provided unofficial advice and personal support to Reagan from a perspective of business owners, taxpayers, informed citizens, and active participants in the political process.

The people who comprised his Kitchen Cabinet were accomplished, successful individuals in their own right, not nodding, sycophantic yes-men, but trusted advisors he knew would be tough with him when needed, yet always supportive, even when they disagreed. …

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