Seek Out Advisors

If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Yesterday afternoon I was at a table in the local Tim Horton’s drinking my tea and researching for an article. A couple of young women were talking at the table beside me. One of them had a problem, and I guess I looked sympathetic or something. So, they turned and asked my “advice” about it. They are college students making major decisions and buffeted by conflicting desires and forces.

Then they told me they were “Millennials”. I never get a chance to talk with that demographic (as marketers would call it), so I asked what defined a Millennial. And I learned something.

My orientation toward life is one of always trying to learn something new. And I’m interested in a lot of things. In this case, these young women were smarter than I about what it means to be 20 today. And they were articulate. In fact, they seemed normal in every way, but they blew away the stereotype. Just giving them the ability to be heard allowed them to teach me things.

The phrase I opened with has popped up in a couple of leadership books I have read recently. It makes a lot of sense.

Do you know everything? Or, try to show everyone that you know everything?

Has that ever cost you the chance to learn something new?

Do you surround yourself with people who can’t (or won’t) teach you anything new?

I attend a small study group early Tuesday mornings when I’m in town. Every one of the men in the group has a different education and strength. After an hour of discussing the book we’re reading, I come away with many new insights.

One of those twisted phrases attributed to baseball player and coach Yogi Berra goes, “You can hear a lot just by listening.”

He was right. Surround yourself with people smarter than you and then listen to them.

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