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Laying the groundwork for change includes many elements, some of which I discussed in a previous article. Another aspect of laying the groundwork is knowing who will there for you during the change. Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” calls these the people who are on the bus with you. This will certainly include the individuals who are actively involved in doing the work on the project or change, but there is another group of people that must be in place (“on the bus”) before you even begin.

Some people call it their personal “advisory board” or “board of directors” those people to whom you look for support, guidance, accountability, advice and encouragement. I look to those on my bus for a variety of reasons and they have become indispensable to me. Each has a unique role in my life and work.

  • The Expert There are several people in my life that fill this role on my bus. Two in particular have made a significant impact. One is a subject matter expert in my field. He has been doing this work for over 20 years and is someone who I call upon when I need advice about a client issue or when I’m looking for a resource. His mind and bookshelves are full of valuable resources. The second is an expert in business development. He has a keen eye for the marketplace and how to build relationships that lead to business success. Thanks, Rich and Jim E.
  • The Grounder This seat’s purpose is to keep me centered and focused on what is most important. For me, my faith and spirituality are what centers me and the person who fills this role is a stabilizing force when times get rough and I’m out of sorts. He asks simple questions like, “What do you believe?” that bring me right back to where I’m strongest and at peace. Thanks, Dom.
  • The Buddy This person is traveling a similar road as I am. He is feeling the same pains and facing similar challenges while establishing and growing a business. We can relate to one another, share in victories and commiserate over setbacks. It’s an amazing comfort to know that I’m not alone or wonder if I’m the only one. Thanks, Jim L.
    The Coach The person in this seat has changed a couple times over the years, but it’s a seat that is always filled. In all cases, the coach asks the right question at the right time to clarify the situation, provide a different perspective, facilitate my learning and then move me forward. Thanks, Ken, Val and Michelle.
  • The Cheerleader There have been multiple cheerleaders on my bus, however two stand out. One has been on my bus for the last eight years and is a constant source of encouragement and unconditional love my wife. The second is my physical therapist. In addition to attending to my health, he has become a rock of encouragement and strength. Both of them sometimes sit in the Grounder seat as well. Thanks, Sandy and Don.

What are the seats on your bus? Which ones are filled and which are empty? What will you do to fill the empty seats? Who will you express gratitude to for the seat they’ve filled for you?

Jeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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