The Three Power-People You Need on Your Team

The Three Power-People You Need on Your Team
by Dan Rockwell – January 2014

Editor’s Note: This post had over 1000 shares in the last 3 days on Dan’s website (

The enemy of success is isolation. The higher you go the easier isolation becomes, but, it’s a devastating problem at all levels of leadership.

Isolated leaders fear conspiracies and feel misunderstood. Worse yet, ivory-tower leaders resort to control through authority.

Us/them thinking destroys influence.

Defeat isolation and enhance success by developing a high-power inner circle.


Don’t take volunteers. Choose your inner circle.

Three people are enough. Six is too many and two is too few. You need a:

  1. Visionary who is never satisfied.
  2. Tender-heart who nurtures people.
  3. Doer who is fanatical about execution.

Note: Include at least one old and one young.


  1. Hard working. Doers trump thinkers.
  2. Strong opinions and emotions. Lapdogs feel good but won’t take you far.
  3. Unflinching alignment with organizational values.
  4. Comfort saying no. Good manners are nice but not essential.
  5. Dedication to serve the organization before serving themselves.
  6. Strength to confront brutal facts.
  7. Openness to change.
  8. Loyalty.

Technical skills and experience are nice, but character comes first.


You won’t find candidates who perfectly fit the bill. Weaknesses are strengths in disguise. Consider the:

  1. Impulsive.
  2. Judgmental.
  3. Fiery.
  4. Egotistical.

Recruit strong people. Hard to manage is better than easy.

Your job

  1. Create connections within the inner circle.
  2. Instigate creative tension.
  3. Honor their individual perspectives.
  4. Satisfy their fundamental concerns.
  5. Focus them on finding solutions.

Put your three people – visionary, tender-heart, and doer – together and shake them up. Help them butt heads. Design projects, programs, solutions, and vision that satisfies their individual perspectives.

Focus, ignite, and galvanize your inner circle and your organization will follow.


Don’t worry about those who feel jealous of the inner three. But, don’t constantly huddle in public, either.

What qualities are essential for a high-powered inner circle? Tweet (@leadershipfreak) below or visit our Facebook page to offer your feedback.