Last weekend I went to a field hockey tournament that my niece was in. It was a beautiful day, and her team was in good form. Not only did her team win, but she scored a goal. Yes, I’m a proud uncle!
But something came up that got me to thinking about business and finance. During the game her father and I chatted, catching up on things, and he gave me a bit of background on my niece and her team. It turns out that this is the second team that she belongs to, having joined the tournament team this year. Her father then commented on how it was a better team and conveyed my niece’s observations about it: the coach is more methodical and disciplined, the players are older and more experienced, and drills are more robust.
In thinking about it, I almost feel like he could be talking about how we raise our game in business. We look at skills that we can hone: improving our understanding of our ideal clients, coming up with new service offerings, testing and refining products, tweaking our pricing strategies, and becoming better managers. We listen to podcasts and read blogs to get ideas, learn, and get better at the craft of entrepreneurship.
But I also believe that we raise our game by improving our social context. I’m almost tempted to call it community, but not quite sure that this would quite be correct. Regardless of what it should be called, being in an environment of our peers—of surrounding ourselves with like-minded entrepreneurs—affects our mindset and expectations of ourselves. I think that is part of what is happening with my niece on the field, and it shows.
So this is a reminder, to myself as well, to not just raise the game, but to do it by making sure I hang out with better teammates. And when that happens, we’ll keep improving our bottom lines.