The Formula for Success: Having the Right People By Your Side

05/11/2011 06:13 pm ET | Updated Jul 10, 2011

Everyone has dreams, goals and intentions. To illustrate that point, I wanted to share a true story.

In 2000, the Russians were playing war games and by accident sunk one of their own ships. There were over 100 sailors on that ship and the only way that they could communicate was by tapping. What were they tapping? SOS, which stands for save our souls. The United States had a strong reaction: they said, we will send some help right away and help save the sailors. The Russians reply: no need, we're ok. I'm not sure if it was their pride, they were embarrassed or felt they could do it on their own, but they declined that help.

Failed attempt after failed attempt, and four days later they finally asked the United States for help, but it was too late.

One of the things that I love to do is speak.

If you are looking to build a company, there are a few sets of people I strongly recommend you get on your side of the table:

First, you need a strong team of a-players. A-players are the people that you can count on no matter what; they are self-managed and motivated. Your role needs to be as follows: locate the a-players and then give them the freedom to make the magic happen. One thing I'd like to point out is that a-players are very rarely on the sidelines. These type of people need to be poached from another company (more often than not). Take a look at how companies like Google, Apple and Zappos hire; they have it nailed down.

The next set of people (or person) is someone who is going to hold you accountable to what you're committing to. This could be a peer support group, an accountability partner or even a coach. I belong to an amazing group called EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) check out Each month, I participate in something called "forum" where I share my update from the prior month and what my plans are for the coming month. One of the roles of the forum is to hold me accountable for hitting my goals.

I also have a life coach, Matthew Ferry (check him out at His role is to make sure that I'm moving towards and hitting all of my intentions for the quarter and staying in a state of happiness. What he has found is that the secret to being more productive is to simply be happier!

The last group of people that I feel will directly impact your success level are your "advocates, believers and supporters." These are the people that will stand on the rooftops and sing about how amazing you, your business and your product or services are. These may be customers, family members', even friends. These are the people that spur the whole "word of mouth" movement. I'm a full blown marketer and I'm happy to admit that there is no other single form of marketing more powerful than word of mouth marketing.

Some of you may be thinking, what about board of advisors and consultants and the like? Yes, these sets of individuals are important, but my intention for this article is to get you to take some action:

#1 Hire some a-players, let go of any b-players
#2 Get a coach or a support group to hold you accountable
#3 Do everything in your power to ensure you get advocates, believers and supports on your side.

Go to it, take some action and push the needle further in your favor towards success.