Wondering as to how your peers get their business advice and keep their individual knives sharp? I posted an unscientific poll on LinkedIn posing that inquiry. The results certainly painted the portrait of the self-educated professional, getting business guidance from articles, websites, webinars and other self-motivated methods.
LinkedIn Poll Results
The inquiry was: How are you acquiring perspective and guidance as a leader in small business? Listed below are the outcomes:
Clearly in the generation of economic crises, searching for guidance on your own through the Internet is the fastest, and most affordable, means of getting help and information as revealed in the 61% sampling on this survey. In a distant 2nd place with roughly 1/3 as many responses is Mastermind Groups, followed by Coaching/Mentoring at 11%. What I thought to be very interesting was that using your built in team of leaders got such a low result. Though, the answer was worded “Internal managers only” and the only part of that may have swayed this data.
LinkedIn polls have 2 key downsides:
- Just LinkedIn Users can participate in the survey. This instantly implies that users are restricted for the most part to white-collar experts. In my case, that is my target client base so this is not an issue on audience portion, just numbers of users that answer.
- LinkedIn requires a choice without allowing for several selections. Participants need to choose the best response that answers the question.
What LinkedIn does do that is good is won’t let numerous responses from the same individual as some sites do, essentially letting someone, usually the pollster, to manipulate the outcomes. Not in LinkedIn.
There is also the limitation of statistical significance on this survey. LinkedIn Polls operate for 30 days when uploaded, and because of other opportunities I didn’t push this survey, so the restricted number of participants increases the margin for error due to statistical significance. I was searching for fads, however, and the returns without a doubt show one.
Alongside, I ran a survey on my website that had no such limitations. Respondents could pick the best answers they wished and could pick multiple answers.
Note that the numbers do rise a little for all low responses like the In house choice, but the leaders and trends are in the same positions as the LinkedIn survey. The extra little response in the SurveyMonkey survey concerning not getting any new info on assistance demonstrates that the respondents are forward thinking enough to seek out greater methods and humble enough to recognize that they don’t know everything.
What Does This Mean to You as a Business Leader?
Well, it’s a data point really. Shocking? Perhaps not. Plainly the best and most reliable way to inform yourself to new techniques and methods is going online, where in a matter of seconds you can tap a weblog or internet webinar to teach you things.
The difficulty that I see with this information, where specialists are obtaining guidance and perspective mostly from articles, blogs and webinars, is just one of neutrality and honesty. Much of the information obtained online, at least the free material, is fashioned to convince you to a given resolution to a problem. It’s a one-size-fits-all solution and is generally not supplied with the best interest of the reader or viewer as first priority.
Of course most info providers wish to see you succeed, but that can be second to buying their products. The obvious hazard here is lack of investment in your results, and even though this can work great for things like marketing strategies, on larger decisions that business owners experience (selling the business, legal trouble, etc.), they must be persistent and measured when following the authority of whatever it is they are consulting on.
Getting Trusted Advice
What I mean by trusted guidance is counsel from someone who is invested in you personally, where friendships or business partnerships have been formed, and that person is either at a peer-to-peer level or a higher level on the pecking order than you. Perhaps that is the reason the numbers in these surveys reveal business leaders are discussing with their employees as a first choice.
Typically trusted advice stems from loved ones and buddies, but you need to identify the business judgments of those individuals in your life. Many well-meaning relatives have absolutely and unknowingly thwarted the hopes and dreams of small business owners.
Another way to gain access to wise advice with trust is a mentor or Mastermind Group engagement. These numbers on the studies earlier showed a subset of people utilizing these instruments to evolve their companies and gain perspective. Barriers to either of these ends are usually financial or, in most entrepreneur and small business owner cases, time commitment.
Professionals establishing their own Mastermind Groups, for example, can do so on a small budget, but the finding of other similar thinking members who can contribute, the balance of sources, and the assistance of a group can be difficult. Many existing Mastermind Groups are like my offering at Virtual-Mastermind.com, Vistage International, and plenty more, and the fees range all over the map.
Your money goes to the functioning of the group, getting into a good group of other entrepreneurs, and the 2-way communication that customizes results for the membership after that trust is created. Financial investment should never go to product purchases without these other aspects.
Professional Education and Leadership Advice Today
The most important thing any business professional must take away is to keep receiving more information, techniques, guidance and original ideas. Information is never stagnant, and neither is what works in the world. Principles are ageless, while techniques transform over time as does the success from utilizing them. Know what kind of information you seek, stay up to date, and stay thorough. You can only follow up on so much information, so edit carefully.
Karl Walinskas is the CEO of Smart Company Growth, a business development firm that helps small to mid-size professional service firms builds competitive advantage in an online world of sameness. He is author of numerous articles and the Smart Blog on leadership, business communication, sales & service, public speaking and virtual business, and Getting Connected Through Exceptional Leadership, available in the SmartShop. Get your FREE LinkedIn Profile Optimization eBook & Video Course, Video Marketing video and course, or Mastermind Groups e-course & video now.
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