What’s the value of an Inner Circle?

It’s often said that the best thing about running a business is that no-one tells you what to do It’s also said, often in the same breath, that the worst thing about running a business is that no-one tells you what to do! 

To a greater or lesser extent, we all have an inner circle. A small group of people within a larger group who have a lot of power, influence or special information. People who don’t necessarily tell us what to do, but help us make the right decisions

How do we decide who’s in our inner circle?

Accountants, for example, are perfectly placed to be in a client’s inner circle. But only if they do actually understand your business and are not simply reporting the score at the year-end. After all, we already have a pretty good idea what the score is – what we need to understand is how we can improve the score for this year. But achieving that inner circle status isn’t a right – it has to be earned.

As business owners we take information from many sources. The arrival of the internet means we are never short of knowledge right at our fingertips. 

And yet does this increased knowledge help our decision-making? 

Sometimes the clutter makes our thoughts more muddled, so making sense of the knowledge carries much more value than knowledge itself.

Deciding on a course of action is something we do every day, usually unconsciously. But for bigger decisions, we often like to talk them through with our inner circle. 

From government deciding how to act in light of statistics and information around coronavirus; through sports stars deciding about a different approach to training; to chatting through relationship issues with friends – we all like to involve our inner circle at times. 

We see echoes of this in business – we take business decisions every day, but for the more meaty ones we like to discuss them.

The question is with whom?

Who has earned the right to be in your inner circle? It could be a good friend – sometimes those close to us can cut through the clutter and tell us straight. Or conversely it could be someone you don’t know too well, maybe someone you’ve engaged in a professional capacity who can look at things dispassionately. Someone who can, metaphorically, take you up in their helicopter so you can get a really clear overview of your business, to help you:-

  • see in corners you’ve not looked into for a while
  • uncover previously unseen issues
  • check the direction of travel is still right 

So who is in your inner circle?

Doug Aitken

Doug has been a regional manager for Royal bank of Scotland, set up an successful accountancy network, and launched Ascendia Growth. Knowledge is useful; developing a skill from it even more so; but its making that skill habitual that is the real secret.

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