In Great Company

One of the first rules of networking I learned was that if I was the smartest person in the room, I should leave and find another one.

While I can’t gauge or measure everyone’s “smarts” that I come in contact with, I’ve left a room or two. Not because I thought I was smarter, but because the associations were shallow and superficial. Because people were too busy trying to be known than trying to get to know. They were more concerned about their credentials than the sharing of ideas. Knowledge was being held for a ransom, only to be set free if the right amount of butt was kissed.

Last year as I set out to become relevant in the HR blogging space, I just knew that I would have to enter more of these rooms. Forums full of experts and seasoned vets, professionals that had experienced it all and wouldn’t accept me until I had earned the same.

To my surprise, I was embraced by several of my peers who were not all about being “the” person doing all of the talking, but peers that were interested in different perspectives, being creative and in collaborating. There are too many to name them all, but a specific group of individuals that continue to make me better is the PerformanceICreate crew.

Chris Fields freely gave me advice on how to navigate my way through this social media thing. Serving as a resource and a friend, he has opened a few extra doors for me that it would’ve taken me years to crack.

Melissa Fairman showed me how to be precise and technically sound in my posts. She gave my confidence a boost and made me feel warm and fuzzy when she invited me to join PerformanceICreate.

I learned that being brutally honest was OK, as long as I knew what I was talking about through the readings of Sarah “Buzz” Rooney.

When I needed inspiration and a little hope that I could take my career as far as I wanted it to go…and that I could love it at the same time, I looked to Jay Kuhns.

And when I was feeling good about where I was, Steve Browne let me know that it was alright to share that feeling with others…that it was my obligation to inspire someone else.

When doing any kind of work, it’s always good to have a little fun and laugh at yourself, and no one laughed at me more than Tiffany Kuehl. Another newbie to this blogging thing, she and I are growing together and trading insults along the way.

The strong silent type, Dave Ryan, showing me that one should never get too busy for the really important things in life, family. Every time I see an image of Dave, he’s enjoying time and travel with his family. Not talking about balance, but demonstrating it.

Finally, keeping the mod squad in tact and on task is that guy, Chris Ponder. Always making us think and ensuring that we are not just a bunch of folks writing just for the sake of writing, but that we have a mission with specific, performance improvement goals in mind.

If you haven’t already, please visit us over at and check out these amazing HR minds and writers, as we try to give you information and insight where you need it most, in the trenches and right smack in your face. They’ve made me better, and I trust they can do the same for you.  Needless to say, I’m not leaving this room any time soon!


5 thoughts on “In Great Company

  1. Well, the good news for me is I seldom have to leave the room – but I get your point and there are one or two forums that I don’t go back to for some of the very same reasons you mention.

    Another well-thought out post Justin. Well-written too. Kudos to all your peers and mentors.


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