Four is a magic number

Just as there are four essential elements that work together in the universe (fire, water, air and earth), there are four critical roles in business:

  1. Chief Executive Officer — vision and strategy = fire
  2. Chief Operating Officer — resources and operations = water
  3. Chief Information Officer — new thinking = air
  4. Chief Financial Officer — performance and results = earth.

In sport, every successful team consolidates vision, talent, ideas and action across the four key roles of owner, manager, coach and captain. In ‘The Making of a Corporate Athlete’ (HBR, January 2001), Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz propose that an individual optimises their talents and skills through the balance of four key areas: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Many popular TV shows hinge on four key characters. Think of Vince, Drama, Eric and Turtle in Entourage. In Sex and the City the four lead characters can be broken down into four distinct personalities:

  1. Samantha — rebel, lover, fanatic (fire)
  2. Charlotte — fantasist, carer, nurturer (water)
  3. Carrie — dreamer, writer, thinker (air)
  4. Miranda — butt-kicker, go-getter, realist (earth).

It is said that the mind can generally juggle four different items of information at the same time; any more and confusion sets in.

From books and TV shows to the boardroom, four works. It also works in networking. When it comes to building a strategic and smart network…

Four allows balance, diversity, dedication and success. And four is the magic number when it comes to the start of a successful network.

So who are your Core Four? Search out the following:

  1. PROMOTERS make noise about potential possibilities and inspire you to dream big (your fire)
    Your own personal cheerleading squad is key to your success. They are with you through thick or thin, never giving up on you, always dreaming big with you. Promoters pull you toward your future dreams, make noise about potential possibilities, spend time with you to explore how you’re going to achieve your goals and inspire you to become more. They put fire in your belly and belief in your mind.According to research from the Centre For Talent Innovation, people with promoters (aka sponsors) are 23% more likely to move up in their career than those without sponsors.
  1. PIT-CREW keep you on track, nurture you and prevent untoward emotions from getting the better of you (your water)
    Climbing the ladder of success can be a lonely task, requiring grit, determination and perseverance. We all experience days of frustration and disappointment, days when we have to face our fears, make tough decisions or calls, push past failures, recalibrate our reality and keep focused on opportunities that lie outside our comfort zone. Having the right crew to help you overcome these difficulties, keeping you mentally tough and balanced, is crucial.Like a Formula One pit stop, your pit crew can make or break a race. They add stamina to run the marathon of your dreams; to navigate complexities and recover from setbacks. They help you learn from mistakes and keep pushing you on anyway.
  1. TEACHERS help you develop knowledge, wisdom and foresight (your air)
    Seek out teachers who will continue to help develop your mastery and knowledge, pushing you to know more. They may have already achieved what you want to achieve and will willingly open doors, make introductions and pave the way to your success.Harvard professor Linda Hill says, ‘You can’t think of something new unless you are being pushed to think in new directions, and you can’t do that unless you are engaging with people who have a different viewpoint.’The right teachers teach you mastery, guide and stretch your thinking and encourage you to push, because they know that this constant curiosity creates real opportunity for growth, achievement and success.
  1. BUTT-KICKERS accelerate your journey, push you to do more and hold you accountable for your actions (your earth)
    Love them or hate them, we all need butt-kickers. Butt-kickers are the masters of delivery. They listen to your dreams and accelerate your goals, pushing you to do more and holding you accountable for all your actions — and then some.

Choose your tribe carefully. Become the master of your network. Take control and put yourself smack bang in the centre of a Network of You because strategically aligning yourself with the right people will fast track your goals and ambitions and influence the person you eventually become.

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