There’s a saying: “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I really like that as an idea.

Yet I think it can go further.

What if those five people were all of the same type? Wouldn’t that just be just one person multiplied by five? How useful would that be, really?

We all know the value of having access to a diverse range of perspectives. As Matthew Syed shows in his brilliant book Rebel Ideas, cognitive diversity – the diversity of the minds we engage with – is the key ingredient to remove blind spots, learn faster, and generate the best ideas.

Different is better than more.

If you truly want to change things with your ideas, cultivate a diverse network.

I’ve learned that people who deliberately cultivate a diverse network are the most effective change-makers. These people fall into three broad categories:

People who help you deliver: they’re the ones who help you get stuff done.

People who help you discover: they’re the ones who offer new, often challenging, perspectives.

People who help you recover: they’re the people who help you to breathe out – you can have a wine and a whine with them!

Deliver. Discover. Recover. Three ways you can have the people you spend the most time with help you.

Diagnose Your Network


Here’s a tool I’ve developed to help you map your current network across those three categories. It’s called the Leadership Network Diagnostic. It’s a simple yet powerful way to diagnose where your network’s strong, and where it could use some work. It’s one of the tools we dig into in the Change Makers Kick Start course, an online course + community that helps you to level up and have more impact with less drama.

I’m a massive believer in the power of networks to make change happen. If you want to dial yours up, I’d love you to join the next Kick Start course.  You can check out the details and apply to join here.


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  • Check out Change Makers Kick Start – an online course + community to help you make your mark with more impact and less drama.