Want success? Invest in ‘lifeline’ relationships

This past Thursday I attended an 85 Broads event in downtown Manhattan. Keith Ferrazzi, consultant, coach, key note speaker and author of  “Never Eat Alone” introduced his new bestseller: “Who’s got your back?”. Keith essentially made the case for how pivotal trusted advisors, mentors and friends are to leading a fulfilling career and life. In and of itself, this idea does not seem groundbreaking. In fact, positive psychologists and organizational development scholars have long argued and produced scientific evidence that ‘other people do matter’. However, Keith introduced four intriguing components that such a trusted relationship or ‘lifeline’ needs to be effective:

  • generosity: look at what you have to offer your peers. In addition to creating a courteous and empathetic collegial bond, ask yourself: ‘do I have skills that complement my colleague’s skill set that could help him or her be more successful at what they do?’ In turn, allow others to support you – accepting the help of others is a form of generosity: letting them see that they can make a difference in your world.
  • vulnerability: open your ‘kimono’ to trusted colleagues, let them know that you have a fear of speaking in front of big crowds, that you frequently struggle to meet deadlines or that it is difficult for you to ask for help. Letting the right people know that you are human lets them see that you are genuine. Being ‘real’ builds mutual trust and dissipates pressures you have been shouldering alone so far.
  • candor: Ferrazzi calls the absence of it “the most corrosive cause of lackluster performance”. Transparency in the work place is key to effective communication, it nurtures change and drives peak performance. Constructive feedback provides datapoints – it allow us to maximize our competencies and to manage our weaknesses.
  • accountability: as a career and executive coach, holding my clients accountable is crucial in making sure they sustain their momentum and reach their goals. As my good friend and career coach Jennifer Bezoza puts it pointedly: effective coaching involves both a “warm hug and a firm kick in the rear end”.

Lifelines empower us to capitalize on our strengths and to overcome internal and external barriers, catapulting us to the top of our game. What is your ‘relationship DNA’? Do you belong to the 50 percent of the population that has such lifelines? Find out your relationship strengths and weaknesses on Keith’s diagnostic tool. Enjoy!