Build Your Own "SUCCESS TEAM"
by Ross Macpherson, President, Career Quest

It is extremely difficult to achieve your goals in isolation. Knowing this, successful people consistently surround themselves with other successful and positive people to support the realization of their goals. Your job search or career management goals are no different. You can either go it alone, or benefit from the combined expertise and support of a team working with you to help you realize your goals.

In Think & Grow Rich, possibly the most influential book ever written on personal success, Napoleon Hill refers to assembling your "Master Mind" - a group of individuals coordinating both knowledge and effort "in a spirit of harmony" toward a common objective. In your case, that common objective is your career success.

Does this mean trying to gather a group of influential people together every week at the same time to meet in your basement and discuss your future? Not necessarily. Chances are you will be assembling more of a virtual team of individuals that you can use as a resource. Each one may have a specialty, or be able to help you in a specific way, and maybe you can meet them for lunch occasionally, or maybe you have to arrange a phone call every two weeks. Whatever works for you and the respective members of your team. The point is to leverage the combined energy, motivation, and expertise of a group of individuals committed to helping you achieve success.

How can your Success Team specifically help you with your career goals? Here's just a partial list. They can:

  1. help you develop a clear strategy and workable action plan
  2. keep you remain positive in the face of challenges, obstacles, or adversity
  3. keep you stay on course and moving in the right direction
  4. provide you with sound advice and honest feedback
  5. help you identify areas for improvement and/or professional development
  6. help you set realistic goals and keep you accountable for them
  7. provide you with a network of additional contacts that could help in your career
  8. provide a personal model for excellence, drive, and success

Can you just imagine what you could accomplish with this type of assistance? The possibilities are endless. However, the efficacy of your team depends largely upon 1) who you select for your team, and 2) how you work with and relate to your team.

First, it is absolutely critical that your Success Team be made up of the right mix of individuals for you. While this exact mix may differ for each person, there are certain qualities that you should look for. First and foremost, your Success Team should be made up of individuals whose opinion you respect, who are positive, and who are successful themselves. What you are looking for are individuals who can help lead the way, truly contribute to your success, motivate you to go after it, and provide any direction and assistance you may need - negative or unsuccessful team members will only suck the energy out of you, model a defeatist attitude, and ultimately point you in the wrong direction. Your best candidates should also be available to support you, be straightforward in their feedback, and ideally even have some insight, knowledge, or expertise that is in line with your goals. Now, chances are you won't find one individual that fits all of these criteria, but if the collective make-up of your team as a whole looks like this, then you've probably assembled a fine team.

Now that you have enlisted a group of quality individuals for your Success Team, it is equally important to know how to work with them effectively. Here are some of the important things to consider:

As you are assembling your team, make certain that they understand why you are asking for their support and how you could benefit from their support

Try to meet or speak with each team member regularly - whenever is mutually convenient and for whatever time is feasible - to assess your progress and set goals for the next meeting

Ask them to keep you accountable for your goals - at the end of each meeting, work together to complete a short list of things to accomplish, leads to follow, or things to learn for the next meeting

Respect their time, keep all appointments, and be sure to thank them at the end of every meeting

Be prepared and openly willing to return the favor in the future - consider what advantages or benefits you have to offer and make them available should your team members ever need assistance themselves

Assembling and effectively using your Success Team is a fundamental component to personal success. Ultimately, you can only benefit from the power and collective expertise of your team working with you to achieve your goals. Pick your team carefully, use it wisely, and reap the rewards!


Ross Macpherson is the President of Career Quest, a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and a Career Success Coach who has helped thousands of motivated professionals advance their careers. To receive more valuable career advice, sign up to join his monthly newsletter "Career Quest Café" by visiting

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