Sam came to me because he felt stuck on a new project and needed advice.
“This project is a huge opportunity for me to flex my influence in the community,” said Sam. “But I’m tapped out right now, and can’t get traction on ideas for some of the pieces.”
“Have you asked for help?” I replied. “You must have some pretty bright people in your network.”
Sam looked puzzled, but as we sat through the next hour brainstorming about colleagues he knew who might be able to help, he started to relax.
“Wow. I’d forgotten about some of my connections – and tapping into their expertise will help this project speed along!”
I was glad Sam realized he already had the resources to complete this project – but it also told me that people who knew him did not consider him a powerful part of their own networks.
“Sam, you said you want more influence in this community. And you are looking to make more impact – to stand out above the crowd. But you are neglecting the one thing that could do just that for you – tapping into your network.”
Over the next few weeks, Sam and I worked on identifying his present network and coming up with a plan to cultivate it in a powerful way. Within the next year, Sam had reached the level of influence he needed in order to run successfully for an elected position – something he had wanted for quite awhile.
What was Sam’s initial problem? He was not building powerful bonds. He had a cache of great names in his circle – but he was not nurturing these relationships through connecting on a deeper level. He wasn’t reaching out on a regular basis, and he had never volunteered to see how he might be of assistance to these contacts. People knew who he was – but only on a superficial basis.
What are the secrets to building powerful bonds? Here’s a handy checklist of the most important ones. Take a moment to see how you rate!
- Are you cultivating and maintaining extensive networks to exchange ideas and rally support? Or do you not think of reaching out?
- Are you seeking out relationships that are mutually beneficial, rather than to view others in competition with you?
- Do you build rapport with others and keep them in the loop, or are you hesitant to be collaborative?
- Are you able to respect and appreciate individual differences in perspective and background, or do you seek to align yourself only with those who are similar to you and agree with you?
- Can you pick up the phone and call contacts to get answers or to get past obstacles – or do you feel you are very limited in who you can call?
- Do you have the respect and support of people at various levels of your organization or community?
To your success!
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.