Career advice: Be in the business of building and maintaining bridges

Career advice: Be in the business of building and maintaining bridges

We’ve all heard the cliché before: don’t burn bridges.

When we say that, we mean that when we leave a job (presumably), we should not do things that will cause the people there to remember us poorly.

In general, this is good advice. All things being equal, I would advise this too.

But there’s more than just not destroying your reputation as far as your former boss and colleagues are concerned.

I think that there’s a huge opportunity (read: something most of us are not paying enough attention to) in the bridge building and maintenance business.

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3 typical team development ‘Yeah, but’ challenges and how to respond to them

3 typical team development ‘Yeah, but’ challenges and how to respond to them

During a recent delivery of one of my popular client workshops, Team Power, about how to develop high performing teams, we discussed seven common team development stages (I am partial to using the Drexler/Sibbert model). We also identified structural supports that help teams function optimally, reviewed the importance of trust in teams and ways to build it, discussed important team communication dynamics, and practiced applying this team development knowledge in a simulated team work situation, culminating with each learner creating an action plan for applying team dynamic best practices within their own team.

As usual, the learners were highly engaged and interested.

Also as usual, they still had some challenges they were grappling with, which came out in the form of what I call “’Yeah, but’s”.

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2017 goals and habits: Mid-year progress check

2017 goals and habits: Mid-year progress check

I have good news and bad news...

Bad news: half of 2017 is finished, gone, never to return!!! What?!?

Good news: you have a full six months to do what you set out to do this year!

If you follow my blog, you may recall that at the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog post detailing all my goals, strategies, and habits that I intended to achieve and implement in 2017.

It’s time to do a half-way progress check and report. There are two reasons why it’s important.

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Networking for introverts: it doesn’t have to be so hard

Networking for introverts: it doesn’t have to be so hard

If you are an introvert, chances are you don’t like networking. In fact, you probably despise it. Rather have a root canal. Avoid it like the plague. Think it’s a four-letter word.

But networking doesn’t have to be so awful. It doesn’t have to be so dang hard. You could actually learn to <gasp> enjoy it!

First, let’s talk about your mindset – it’s probably on the wrong track, as most people’s is, with regards to networking. And once you change that, there are many actionable, doable strategies and techniques that you can begin to implement immediately to get you started networking in an introvert-friendly, easier way.

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Let’s get gritty! (Book Review: Getting Grit by Caroline Adams Miller)

Let’s get gritty! (Book Review: Getting Grit by Caroline Adams Miller)

Grit is so important to goal accomplishment and success that I decided to share some golden nuggets of wisdom from both the book and the podcast right here in this post, to get you started. In this blog post, I’ll share some of Caroline’s thoughts and ideas on what is grit, specifically her concept of authentic grit, why we need to cultivate more grit in our culture, the good and bad types of grit, and how to grow your grit by adding the ingredients required for grit according to Caroline’s ‘grit recipe’.

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Make more “Me too!” moments

Make more “Me too!” moments

In this blog post, I explain what a "Me too!" moment is, and how we all experience them.

They happen naturally, frequently, and it’s a good thing – it helps us build bonds with others and have more positive interactions that lead to more trusting relationships.

But furthermore, when we recognize how and why this happens, we can actually also have more input into when and how often it does. Read more about it!

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These words should be banished from our speech forever (are you guilty of using them?)

These words should be banished from our speech forever (are you guilty of using them?)

Have you ever uttered these words?

“Honestly…”

“Truthfully…”

“To be frank…”

“To tell you the truth…”

“To be candid…”

“Ain’t gonna lie…”

If these words ever come out of your mouth in conversation, this blog post is for you: Stop it. Just stop it. Let me explain.

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No more Hot Potato networking introductions: the why and how of Double Opt-ins

no more hot potato networking introductions the why and how of double opt ins

I was guilty. I admit it.

I used to throw around ‘hot potato’ intros left and right.

I was unaware that I was committing a faux-pas.

Until I learned about the 'double opt-in' introduction, that is, and reformed my wayward ways.

What about you – are you guilty of the networking sin of the ‘hot potato’ intro?

What is the purpose of networking introductions?

Let’s pause for a second to reflect on why we make introductions in the first place.

We do it as a way to GIVE value to the others. We are trying to be generous with those in our network by providing them with a new connection that we think will add value to their lives and work.

(Read more about how to build great business relationships by being a Giver.)

So if the purpose of any networking introduction is to give value, then we have to ensure that it is done in a way that only adds value, and does not diminish any value.

In this post, I’m making the case that the hot potato introduction can potentially diminish value, while the double opt-in guarantees value creation.

What is a ‘hot potato’ intro?

I’m so glad you asked. Because back when I used to do it, I didn’t know it was wrong. It was just how everyone did it, so was all I knew.

In fact, I had to invent a name for it (yep, that’s my term there, ‘hot potato’ intro) because for so many people, it’s not even a ‘thing’. They do it unconsciously.

I am hoping to put an end to that by bringing awareness to as many people as possible about the problem with the ‘hot potato’ intro, and by showing you the much better way of Double Opt-in introductions.

Definition:

‘Hot Potato’ Intro (n): An introduction of two third parties to each other with no warning to or preparation of one or both.

‘Hot potato’ intro example:

[Email to Juan and Sue:]

“Hi Juan and Sue,

I wanted to introduce you to each other. I hope the connection is fruitful.

[Optional: May sometimes include a reason for the connection – which makes this less terrible, but still wrong.]

All the best,

Joe”

What’s wrong with this intro?

“But Halelly, that’s how everyone does this. What’s the matter with it?”

First off, don’t let me quote your mother (“If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it?”)…

Let me break it down and show you why, even though everyone else does it, and even though you don’t mean to create any trouble by it, the ‘Hot Potato intro’ is still no good.

  1. It catches people off guard and does not allow them to have a say in the matter. You are putting people on the spot by creating an ‘opportunity’ for them which they didn’t ask for IN FRONT of the other person, instead of offering it up privately. That means that if they’re not so interested, they can’t tell you without looking like a jerk.
     
  2. It doesn’t honor people’s wishes or time/availability constraints. Sometimes, a connection seems like a good idea to you but not to one or more of the other people involved. Or it’s not a good time for them to follow through – they’re slammed with a big project deadline, or they’re going through some personal issues, or what not. Or they’re not that interested in the other person and the introduction, but you made it anyway, without asking them for their wishes.
     
  3. It creates more work for others, and no one needs more to-do’s than they already have. They were humming along, minding their own business, when all-of-a-sudden, out-of-the-blue, into their inbox lands your ‘hot potato’ introduction creating the burden of follow up for them. A new to-do item – yay hurray! <insert sarcastic eyeroll> This one is ESPECIALLY true if you did not explain specifically WHY you are making the introduction and WHAT’S IN IT for each of the introduced parties. And you wouldn’t believe how frequently I get these kinds of ‘hot potato’ guessing game intros. I find those to be the worst type.

Let’s agree to put a stop to the hot potato intro, okay?

Enter the ‘Double Opt-in' intro

No more Hot Potato introductions! Use Double Opt-in intros to add value and earn instant networking cred.

Definition:

‘Double Opt-in’ Intro (n): An introduction of two third parties to each other after first obtaining prior approval from each one, separately.

How to make a proper double opt-in networking introduction in 6 easy steps

Now that you can’t plead ignorance anymore (my first goal was awareness, as I mentioned), I implore you: please don’t do the ‘hot potato’ intro ever again. So that you can’t plead incompetence, let me give you a step by step guide for how to make proper, double-opt-in, upgraded introductions.

  1. Who: Think of two people in your network that don’t know each other, but ought to.
     
  2. Why: Think of the specific, win-win reasons why you believe it’s in their mutual benefit to meet. After all, good networking relationships are always mutually-beneficial (check out my blog post about this).
     
  3. Preempt: Send each person a separate, individual email (or call them, or ask them in person) explaining that you’d like to introduce them to so-and-so for reasons X, Y, and Z (i.e., describe the thinking you did in step 2 above). Ask them whether they would be interested in an introduction.
     
  4. Wait for OK: Wait for BOTH of the people to give you the go-ahead.
     
  5. Make intro: Once (and only if) both parties separately agree, write them a short email (addressed to both) reminding them of/thanking them for their agreement and the high-level reason for the introduction. Then tell them you wish them ‘happy connecting’ and that you’ll step out of the middle as they proceed independently to connect.
     
  6. Earn instant networking cred. Collect 'bonus points' from each of these connections in your long-term win-win relationships. (Note: these are metaphoric bonus points, y’all, so don’t get all literal on me.) Why?

a.  You gave them each a legitimately-beneficial new connection.

b.   You showed them utmost respect for their time and wishes by first checking with them before hoisting a hot potato in their direction. You avoided catching them off-guard, overwhelming them with more (potentially unwanted) to-do’s, and giving them a cryptic introduction to someone they don’t know if they really want to meet or understand why.

Double opt-in introduction example:

At a professional event, you meet Sue. After talking a while, you realize that she might have some interests in common with your colleague Juan. You say to her:

“Hey, there’s this guy I know that I would like to introduce to you. His name is Juan and he is also really into XYZ. I think you two might enjoy connecting and supporting each other. Would you be interested in an introduction?

[Wait for agreement]

Yes? Great! I’ll check with him first, of course, and if he’s game, I can definitely introduce the two of you!”

[Email to Juan (only):]

“Hey Juan,

Hope everything is well with you!

I’d like to introduce you to my new colleague, Sue. Sue is really smart and kind and an expert in XYZ, so I thought you two might find it beneficial to meet and support each other. I wanted to check with you first before making the introduction – I know how busy you are. What do you say – may I introduce you?

Let me know, either way.

All the best,

Joe”

[Wait for approval from Juan.]

[One received OK from Juan, email to both Juan and Sue together:]

“Hi Juan and Sue,

As I mentioned to each of you previously, I thought you’d enjoy meeting each other because you’re both really interested in XYZ. [Add any details about the relevant bragging points about each of them or other mutual interests.]

Enjoy connecting! No need to keep me in the middle, but let me know how it goes!

All the best,

Joe”

Make sense?

So – it’s a tiny bit more work then just hoisting the ‘hot potato’ intro, granted. But I hope you can see how the value and benefits for all three of you are clearly greater in the long run. It’s really worth it. I hope you’ll give it a try and become a convert to the ‘double opt-in’ introduction way of networking forever.

Sum-up

  • Many of us commit the networking sin of making ‘hot potato’ intros.
  • We are usually unaware that this is a sin.
  • Now that you’re aware, you should seek to add value with double opt-in intros instead.
  • There are six simple steps to follow to make ‘double opt-in’ introductions and upgrade your networking game forever. Plus, earn networking cred and bonus points from your peeps.

Your turn:

So, what do you think? Have you ever received a ‘hot potato’ intro and felt trapped by the circumstances or peeved at having to now follow up without full awareness of the benefit to you? Have you ever heard of the ‘double opt-in’ introduction and/or tried it? What’s been your experience with it? If not, do you think you’ll give it a try and become a convert like me? Chime in below in the comments (no, you don’t need to answer ALL of these questions – I just wanted to give you some prompts to help you get going 😉 ). I’d love to know your thoughts!


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Build great business relationships by being a Giver

Build great business relationships by being a Giver

As I’ve explained before, I believe networking is all about building mutually-beneficial, long-term relationships.

When you build business relationships with an abundance mindset it should not scare you to give generously.

Giving helps you establish yourself as a go-to person. It helps you create immense value for others and supports your pursuit of mutually-beneficial, win-win relationships by tipping the proverbial scales in your favor.

But be smart about it - don't be a sucker.

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Tame your advice monster: leadership tips from two expert coach guests as heard on the TalentGrow Show podcast

Tame your advice monster: leadership tips from two expert coach guests as heard on the TalentGrow Show podcast

Humans in general, and especially leaders, we love to teach others.

We love to tell others what they should do.

We enjoy giving advice.

So if somebody comes to us and says, “I’m struggling with this or I don’t know how to do that,” we feel so much pressure to solve their problem for them. To be smart. To have all the answers.

Two world-leading coaching experts, Michael Bungay Stanier and Dr. Marcia Reynolds, agree it’s a mistake many leaders make. In this blog post, I share their advice (oh, the irony!) as given on my leadership podcast, the TalentGrow Show, on why leaders should stop doling out so much advice and what to do instead.

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Networking with integrity: It’s all in your mindset

Networking with integrity: It’s all in your mindset

When you think of the word ‘networking’, what comes to mind?

If you get an icky feeling in the pit of your stomach, keep reading.

First, you’re not alone. I find that most people have some variance of an aversion to networking. But when we dig deeper, it’s often because they’re thinking of the kind of “networking” that people with the wrong mindset do. The kind of networking that gives networking a bad rep.

I think I’m kind of a crusader for righting the reputation of networking. I want to bring honor back to this important activity. And it all starts with getting your mindset straight.

In the right kind of networking – the honorable kind, the kind with integrity and dignity – starts with an abundance mentality and a trader-principle approach. I’d like to explore these mindset foundations in this blog post.

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The TalentGrow Show podcast is now part of C-Suite Radio

The TalentGrow Show podcast is now part of C-Suite Radio

PRESS RELEASE: THE TALENTGROW SHOW PODCAST HAS BEEN SELECTED AS A SHOWCASE SHOW ON C-SUITE RADIO

Los Angeles, CA, February 1, 2017: The TalentGrow Show podcast has been selected on C-Suite Radio, the premier source for the world’s leading business podcasts for c-suite leaders, business executives, and entrepreneurs.

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Diamonds in your back yard: How to get really rich (Hint: it’s a metaphor)

Diamonds in your back yard: How to get really rich (Hint: it’s a metaphor)

Are there diamonds in your back yard that you're not paying any attention to? This short story of a thoughtful gift I received and the meaningful fable behind it will help you focus on the gifts you already have and should be leveraging to become truly rich.

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