Mastery and Others

Consider the value that a peer-to-peer team might have for you. “I won’t accept anything less than the best a player’s capable of doing…and he has the right to expect the best that I can do for him and the team!” –Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Since writing a previous article on Support Teams, I have learned several things by helping clients and subscribers develop peer-to-peer support relationships and offer them in hopes that it will help you ‘go further, faster’.

Before getting into the specifics of support teams, keep in mind Rudyard Kipling’s famous statement regarding the exploration of something:

“I had six honest serving men who taught me all I know–They’re names are WHO and WHAT and WHY–and WHEN and WHERE and HOW.”

From experience, we believe that everyone to some degree or another, knows the potential benefits of ‘two heads being better than one’ (assuming it’s the ‘right’ other head). For example, the ‘right’ other or others can help us clarify issues, see other options, gain deeper insight, and articulate situations by providing feedback. But, for this to be effective, two factors in our lives must be addressed and worked on to gain the most from others:

First, the realm of relationships as to compatibility and congruence on everything from mutual value to contribution and personal behavior to personal beliefs.

Second, communication. This includes everything from style of communication to proficiency in communication. Note: Ineffective communication is a paramount factor in misunderstandings and wrongful assumptions.

Next, think about and answer these questions to determine your perspective regarding your current support team or teams:

How effective is your ‘core’ support team in really helping you in achieve the results you seek within the time frame you define? (List your ‘core’ team members, their roles and responsibilities, and each member’s level of effectiveness as a ‘core’ support team member). Note: Core team members primarily support you both contextually and specifically in areas of importance to you. For example, preparing for a trading session, during your actual trading session, or your post-trading session study and deliberate practice sessions?

How effective is your ‘extended’ support team in really helping you in achieve the results you seek within the time frame you define? (List your ‘extended’ team members, their roles and responsibilities, and each member’s level of effectiveness as a ‘core’ support team member). NOTE: Ex- tended team members primarily support you in specific in areas of importance to you such as with your trading.

And, the final question, how would you describe a great support team member and their ideal role in helping you ‘go further, faster’?

Support Team Members: A Working Definition: The most effective and valuable support teams are comprised of individuals and/or groups of individuals who, based on the context and objectives of their relationship with you:

Have and live personal principles congruent with your own.

Understand what is important to you and invest time and energy in helping you achieve your goals, vision, mission, and purpose.

Challenge you to continually ‘raise the bar’, in your thinking and doing, by sup- porting you in that process.

Provide objective perspectives and viewpoints for thinking and decision-making. Help you get things done more effectively, efficiently, and in a timely manner.

Have knowledge, experience, and expertise in areas you are currently working in or plan to become involved in.

Increase your awareness of potential resources, obstacles, and opportunities. Motivate you through processes of ‘stretching’. Stretching you to be more, do more, think ‘out of the box’, and go beyond your comfort zones.

‘Nudge’ you. The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on the benefits of support in their May 18, 2010 issue that is available in their archives.

Plus many others based on your unique principles, purpose, and pursuits.

Types of Support Teams: Based on experience, support team members seem to fit into two general categories:

First, ‘core’ team members. These are individuals with whom you have a meaningful relationship with and are very supportive of you in living the life you want. They are also highly supportive of you and your family, your personal learning process including your overall advancement both vocationally and/or regarding your career. Core members might be comprised of personal family members and/or individuals you have a long-term relationship with whom have been or are a strong influence in your life.

Second, ‘extended’ team members. These are individuals with whom you have a relationship with centered around a specific service, program, or product such as your physician, accountant, automobile dealer or mechanic, or florist. Also, included in this category, are individuals whose focus is knowledge acquisition, skill development, psychological issues, and skill acquisition. For example:

Mentors: Individuals who, via relationship, offer knowledge, experience, perspective, insight, and counsel on a personal basis beyond traditionally structured education programs.

Educators: Individuals, who through a planned curriculum, help you gain understanding about one or more topics or subjects to be utilized in your ‘doings’.

Coaches: Individuals capable of assessing your skills, strengths, and weaknesses as a player and helping you capitalize on strengths, advance skills, and manage weaknesses.

A Key to Support Team success—A Defined and Lived Set of Values and Behavioral Guidelines:

To increase both the effectiveness and the probability of success for both you and your support team members, we suggest you begin with the premise of both starting and nurturing meaningful, win-win relationships. Several factors affecting the on-going positive development of your relationships with your support team members include the understanding of each party’s:

Demographic profile and where you and they have commonalities such as age and stage in life, family structure, education, and occupation or special interests.

Psychographic profile which includes your own and their predominant beliefs, values, outlook, and feelings about religion and politics, health and wellness, people and society, and the environment.

Wants, needs, and expectations related to the relationship such as contribution or investment of resources (Time, Energy, And, Money). Potential benefits of the relationship.

Role or roles and responsibilities, goals, duties, timelines, and objectives.

Knowledge, experience, and qualifications related to the issue, topic, situation, or focus of the extended support team member’s relationship.

Agreement on mutually established policies, procedures, and operating guidelines.

Note: We suggest these items and others you deem important be addressed in forming and developing your individual peer-to-peer trading relations and/or multiple trader group relationships.

Developing and Nurturing a Win-Win Support Team Member Relationship. Because your support team is a key factor in your growth, development, and success, we suggest you consider the following stages of a process as part of your process in developing and nurturing a relationship between you and your support team members:

Put a ‘Do NOT Disturb’ sign on your door, turn off all of your electronic devices, re- lax, and get comfortable.

Define what you want and need in an ‘ideal’ support team. (See above section). Write out a detailed profile of your ‘ideal’ support team. (See above section).

Define the areas, issues, situations, etc. in which you believe a true support team member would be of benefit to you. Be specific.

Take a good, honest look at yourself and outline what you have to offer a true support team member. Be specific.

Think of people you know and compare them against your list of issues according to the list in the section above.

Plan your approach to those who qualify and show them all of the components of your planned, win-win relationship with them, answer their questions, and give them time to think and decide.

Seek mutual agreement including commitment, reduce your understandings to writing and then carefully read each other’s understanding of the relationship and its guidelines so a real agreement is in place.

Outline the specifics that need to be addressed, put your plans in motion, and focus on continually strengthening the relationship.

The ‘right’ relationships are win-win and empowering. They are based on trust (which takes time to build), cooperation (proactive versus from obligation), respectful of individual uniqueness and differences, and, on many occasions, challenging. Or, as Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, once said –

“Don’t make friends who are comfortable — make friends who force you to lever up.”

BottomLine: Support relationships, like everything else, work to the degree you invest your resources into them!



Until next time . . .

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