Do you find yourself routinely being the smartest person in the room? Do you know all of the answers that your fellow participants don’t know?  If that’s the case and your intention is to grow your business, you need to place yourself in some different rooms, or make sure you go find some smarter people and attract them to the rooms you’re routinely in.

Image of four businesswomen discussing business plan at meeting

This is not to cast aspersions on your company’s team, only to draw your attention to the fact that there are different key roles that you need your team members to play.  If you’re always the smartest person in the room, you’re missing one of the key participants:

  • Thought leader
  • Creative – from scratch, experimentor or researcher
  • Creative – applied from existing elements
  • Implementor
  • Communicator
  • Team leader (by behavior or temperament, regardless of title)
  • Market observer and predictor
  • Owner of the customer’s perspective
  • Devil’s advocate

This list is by no means comprehensive.  The point is for you to recognize that you had better not expect (or assume) that you are the be-all and end-all in all of these categories.  If the business is no more than you with extra hands and feet you are limiting your business to stay within the boundaries of your own mental capacity.

What’s preventing you from bringing smart people into your business? Maybe it’s time to do a gut check and consider whether your ego has been resisting the challenge brought on by having mental peers – or superiors- on your team. If you need ego strokes, perhaps growing your business isn’t really your priority. Yes, being around other smart(er) people can make you feel vulnerable. If you are committed to growth though, it’s time to face it and get over it.  It’s comforting to believe that you know it all, but it’s one of the biggest pieces of self-deception there is.  You can’t know it all. You simply aren’t world class at everything.  The good news is that you can grow an outstanding business no matter your own brainpower, as long as you are effective at finding and attracting the people who can work alongside you (even lead you in some aspects) to help the company become more, bigger, and better than it is today.

What if you work on your own, with nobody else in the room?

You might be a solopreneur, and that’s OK. You might not want to have a team.  Today our focus is not on how much productivity 2 or 3 people can achieve compared to what one person can do. This is about brainpower.  What are you doing to improve yourself, to expand your horizons?  Do you attend conferences? Do you meet regularly with peers from your industry, or from your geographic market?  Do you have a mentor? Have you hired a coach?

When you expand your mental capacity you expand your ability to benefit your business. When you’re always the smartest person in the room you aren’t being challenged, and that means that you’re not fulfilling all of your potential or expanding it.