Twenty-five years ago, when Beusail Academy founders Tamara Loehr, and Natalie Nichols first began their entrepreneurial journey, they were continuously told 'Being a CEO is a lonely game'. They chose to not follow this advice and blend work, family, and friendship. Today they believe this is one of the core reasons for their success.
"You may be able to get to $1M in revenue on your own, but it's a lot of hard work. Getting to $10M and beyond is not possible without the collective efforts of your entire team," Tamara explains.
Tamara and Natalie see the business world as a friendly one. Not that you have to be hugging all of your colleagues, but you should definitely be making friends at every level of your organization.
"These relationships can turn into some of your most valuable, whether it’s for opportunities or support when times get tough," said Natalie.
Here are a few specific ways friendships help out in business:
For opportunities:A friend from a different department may be able to offer insight on a new project you want to take on, like who else would benefit from what you're doing or how much money it could make for your company.
New ideas: If someone has an idea for something cool they want to work on outside of their normal job duties, having a friend on board could make them more likely to ask permission (and help you throw your hat in the ring if you are not one to do so normally).
For support: In life as well as business, things don't always go according to plan.
Friendships at work can mean better company culture, employee engagement, or increased revenue. Those friendships can also help you be more productive (because your happier), find new opportunities faster (because you're connected), or make life easier on a daily basis.
Businesses of all sizes are starting to recognize that if they want to stand out, they need a strong network that cuts across their organization.
Who Should You Connect With?
All leaders should seek out friendships throughout their organizations, but there are certain people who should be top priorities. Executives should make an effort to know everyone they can at their company, but it’s especially important that they build relationships with those on their executive team, as well as at least one person from every department.
These individuals will offer different points of view and help you see your organization through other lenses. You might think building strong relationships is all about connecting over a casual meal or after work drinks, but you can actually learn a lot by speaking with people one-on-one or making a point to stop by each team member’s office for short chats throughout your day an executive level in an organization.
This is NOT about work insights alone. In fact, Tamara and Natalie recommend you get to know them personally including their values, interests and goals.
"When you switch your mindset to being of service to your team, not just your customers or clients, work and growth naturally evolves for everyone," Tamara explains.
How To Build an Executive Circle
Building an executive circle with purpose at its core is vital for your success. This can be challenging for people in positions of authority because they often find themselves with little time left over after work to network or make friends outside of their job roles. That doesn’t mean you can’t build friendships at every level within your company.
To build a circle of executives you can count on, make sure you’re going out of your way to maintain those relationships. Schedule lunches with people you don’t see often, attend community events they attend that you wouldn’t normally go to and take an active interest in what is happening in their life, not just their career.
The more effort you put into staying connected, especially when it comes to your team, the closer those relationships become. The next time someone from your executive circle reaches out for help or guidance, be prepared to provide that person with your guidance through mentorship, not advise, ensuring you are an active listener. Like all of us, being heard and feeling valued goes a long way.
"Create a safe space where your team feels a strong sense of belonging. It makes being a CEO an enriched experience. For them, we trust their journey is an enjoyable one, with great value, enough so that they stick by you even in the tough times," states Natalie.