Ep18: Accelerate your career and build better relationships: How to be a world-class connector of people and ideas like Michael D. Simmons

TalentGrow Show episode 18 Michael D Simmons

Connecting online can be both more or less authentic, depending on your approach. But in the 21st Century, we have many new opportunities to connect with more and different people in a different way than ever before because of how we can create content online. We can leverage these opportunities to share more of ourselves, to be more thoughtful about how we share about ourselves, and build amazing connections and networks. In this episode, I chat with Michael D. Simmons, an award-winning serial entrepreneur, best-selling author and internationally-acclaimed speaker who is a world-class connector of people and ideas who loves to research, synthesize, and share ideas about building relationships in the 21st century. We also talk about how contexts collide online, creating new challenges for managing our personal brands and calling on us to become more holistic and authentic so that we’re not trying to put up a front or share the wrong things in the wrong contexts. Michael also shares the fascinating concept of the “expert generalist” or “broker” as a massively effective way for professionals to accelerate their career success (by 65%!) and increase their own learning and the value they offer to their employers, employees, and clients. With so many people focusing on being seen as a specialist or expert, this counter-intuitive approach can be a powerful one to consider tapping into.

What you'll learn:

Listen to Stitcher
  • What is really important to know about connecting in the 21st century, both in terms of what has changed and what remains consistently important
  • How Michael started his professional journey big, early, and on a bus!?
  • Why a personal tragedy early on influenced Michael’s daily practice that probably is quite different from most of the people you know
  • The pros and cons of the new possibilities of connecting online
  • A hidden opportunity that you now have to create what Michael calls ‘blockbuster content’
  • How you can connect to people on a more authentic level whether online OR offline
  • Why Michael thinks it’s time to become more holistic and authentic online and off – merging our personal and professional identities
  • What was a transformative experience for Michael about being an entrepreneur in the media’s spotlight that has taught him to accept and be accepted as himself
  • Why you need to be mindful and intentional about what you put out in your online content
  • What’s the counterintuitive concept he has learned through his extensive research that has opened up a world of possibilities for him and why Halelly gets excited about it, too
  • The powerful career accelerator that explains 65% of career success variance, and why tapping into it can help you help others and build bridges between divergent groups and ideas and generate greater career success
  • How to be a Network Broker, T-shaped person, and/or Expert Generalist (and what these mean)
  • Halelly makes up a new word… see if you catch it? ;)
  • Michael issues an actionable tip that will help you build up a web of knowledge of interrelated connections, deeper understanding of principles and intense acceleration of learning, not to mention greater career success. Do it!
  • And more!

About Michael D. Simmons

Michael Simmons is a serial, award-winning entrepreneur, Forbes columnist, bestselling author of The Student Success Manifesto, and internationally recognized keynote speaker.

Michael’s company, Empact, helps build the entrepreneurship ecosystem globally. Empact has held over 600 events at colleges, high schools, workforce development organizations, corporations, and Small Business Development centers in 7 countries. One of Empact’s signature programs is the Empact Showcase, the largest showcase of companies run by the country’s top young entrepreneurs with recognition events at the White House and United Nations. The Empact Summit brings together over 300+ invite-only college presidents & deansl senior government administration; elected representatives such as governors, congressmen, and senators; icon entrepreneurs such as the founders of AOL, Chobani, and USA Network; along with the country’s top entrepreneurship foundations and entrepreneurship support organizations. Michael has be recognized by President Obama for his work as a young leader in America.

Michael’s Forbes column on relationship building features insights from the world’s top relationship builders and researchers. It has been shared tens of thousands of times to nearly 1M readers. His articles have also appeared in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Business Insider, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, and the Harvard Business Review.

Michael co-founded his first business, Princeton WebSolutions (PWS), when he was sixteen years old. PWS was later rated the #1 youth-run web development company in the nation by Youngbiz Magazine. In addition, Michael has been the winner of three entrepreneur of the year and was personally recognized for his entrepreneurial accomplishments by President Barack Obama. He and his company have been featured in five books and on the AOL Home Page, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, ABC, NBC, and CBS. Finally, in 2006, Michael was named by Business Week as one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25 by Inc. as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30.


Michael’s personal website and Empact, his company website

Michael’s book, The Student Success Manifesto

Connect with Michael on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or email him at michael@iempact.com

Read Michael’s excellent Forbes column and Inc.com column

Halelly mentions our mutual friend Derek Coburn and his book, Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections (P.S. Derek will be featured as a guest on a future episode of the TalentGrow Show - he has good stuff to share!)

Michael mentions researcher Danah Boyd and the concept she coined, Contexts collapse

Halelly mentions her merging identities blog post

Michael discusses the concept of Expert Generalist, coined by Bain & Co CEO Orit Gadiesh, and being a Network Broker by researcher Ron Burt

Intro/outro music for The TalentGrow Show: "Why-Y" by Esta - a great band of exquisitely talented musicians, and good friends of mine.


Announcer: Welcome to the TalentGrow Show, where you can get actionable results-oriented insight and advice on how to take your leadership, communication and people skills to the next level and become the kind of leader people want to follow. And now, your host and leadership development strategist, Halelly Azulay.

Halelly: Welcome back. This is Halelly Azulay, I’m your leadership development strategist and you’re listening to the TalentGrow Show, episode 18. My guest is Michael D. Simmons. I love to read the work that Michael puts out and I was so excited when he agreed to be on this podcast, because I really love his voice and his ideas and so much research that he puts into what he shares with the world. He’s really prolific and very profound, and I think you’ll really enjoy our conversation because he’s also a really down-to-earth guy. So Michael and I talk about what are some of the things that are maybe different about building relationships in the 21st Century, and what is something that is surprisingly counterintuitive about connecting people and ideas that he has found through his extensive research on the subject? We talk a lot about this concept of being a broker or a bridge builder or an expert generalist or a T-shaped person – what are all those things? Well, listen and you will find out. I think that you will be as excited about everything that you will learn in this episode as I was, and I really look forward to hearing what you thought about it if you leave me a comment or send me an email after the fact. Thanks for tuning in. Here we go, Michael D. Simmons, episode 18.

Welcome back to the TalentGrow Show. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist and this week I have a great guest, Michael D. Simmons. Michael is a serial award winning entrepreneur, a Forbes columnist, best-selling author and an internationally recognized keynote speaker. And he’s also the founder of a company called Impact, which helps build the entrepreneurship ecosystem globally. That sounds really cool. And I know he’s also working on some other things, but I’ll let him talk about that or tell us when he can talk about that when we have this amazing conversation. Michael, welcome to the TalentGrow Show.

Michael: Thank you so much Halelly. I’m so excited to be here.

Halelly: I appreciate you being here very much, and I can’t wait to share what you know with our listeners. I became aware of you through a mutual contact of ours, Derek Coburn who is the guy who wrote the book on how to network. So it’s really appropriate that our networking connection started with the guy who teaches networking! And I’ve been following your column. I love the things that you write about in Forbes. I think that you’re a very curious kind of person. I think we have that in common, probably, and so it’s just fun to see how you chase down your curiosity and do a lot of research and share that regularly with the world. So you do great work and thank you for that.

Michael: Thank you.

Halelly: You’re very welcome. So, the ideas that you share and where you are today have been built on the path of a really interesting journey, I’m sure, and all of my guests share a very brief overview of their journey – how they got to where they are today. Would you share that with our listeners please Michael?

Michael: Yeah. Well, on the professional side, I started my first business when I was 16, and basically got hooked from there. And I started being really interested in social entrepreneurship pretty soon after, and really became interested in the power that entrepreneurship had to change my life. Where I just realized this whole new world that wasn’t there before. And that’s when in college I started writing about entrepreneurship for Entreprenuer.com, and I wrote a book. I started speaking, getting invited to speak from there, and then right after college my wife and I – girlfriend at the time – we basically started a road tour across the country. We bought a 32-foot tour bus, wrapped it and we organized over a few 100 path day conferences at colleges and universities. A few years in we kind of went off the road and brought in a team of people to help run it.

Halelly: That’s amazing. It is a journey, on a bus! That is awesome. So, it’s unique because a lot of people think about starting a business, or they start something kind of really small, but you went big and you went big early. That’s pretty amazing. What do you think fueled your ability to go for it?

Michael: That’s a good question. You’d have to analyze me at a deep level, so I’m not even sure the answer to that.

Halelly: I’m not qualified to analyze you!

Michael: I’m just a competitive person. I’m a curious person. I kind of have the personality of leap before you look, so now, later, that served me well in the beginning of my career to kind of get me into the new worlds. Now learning how to temper that and being more thoughtful and how I make decisions as well.

Halelly: Makes sense. That’s the maturity process. It’s interesting that on your website, you have a professional bio that’s written in the third person like everybody else, but you also have this really cool personal story that's written in the first person. And I thought that you shared in there something really unique that you started doing, you said, in middle school, and in high school, that there was this practice that you would take time to think about life and think about the world every day? How did you come about doing that? How did you do it, either?

Michael: Something for me that – and I would say just a tragedy that happened for me when I was younger – was that my dad passed away when I was eight years old.

Halelly: I’m sorry.

Michael: I think that just really made me not take things for granted and to look at things at a much deeper level. When you’re young, you kind of have this feeling that you’re going to live forever, that things are just going to go, always go well. So I think having that experience just made me a very introspective person, and just curious to understand why things are the way they are.

Halelly: That’s really interesting. So, one of the things that you are is a world-class connector. And you connect people, you connect ideas, and I know that you are doing so much research into how people should build relationships in the 21st Century. The things are really different now and the way in which we connect should be different. So, folks that are listening, they are leaders or they are aspiring leaders, what are some of the things you think are really important for them to know about connecting in the 21st Century?

Michael: Well, I would say first that I think in person, being authentic and generous are and will continue to be and are really important. In terms of what’s changing, I think the big thing is that we’re building relationships more and more online now, in a way that compliments the offline. So a lot of people, you’re building a tribe of people that have gotten to know you through hours of listening to your podcasts, but maybe you don’t know as well. So as we all now start creating LinkedIn posts, Facebook posts, podcasts, You Tube videos, we all the sudden have this third network. Before we used to just think about our network as weak contacts or strong ties. But now it’s this third network, and content plays a role. The first impression, people research about you and find about you through your content online, and then even the second impression, you meet someone at an event and the next natural step is to research the content the person has created.

Halelly: Wow. So what does that change about the way we connect?

Michael: I would say when you think about creating, how you connect with someone in person, it’s really complicated. For me, it took me my awkward high school years to learn basic questions about when to pause and how to ask questions and how to interact, make eye contact, and I think we’re now kind of in those awkward high school years of how do we create content online and how do we express ourselves because it’s a different. Where online is obviously synchronous, you’re going to respond to each other right away. Offline, you really take a lot more time to think about it, you kind of take a lot more time to think about things, and it could mean negative if you kind of try to put up this false façade. You can manufacture this image of a perfect person, so I think that is kind of, that can be a negative thing. But it also, you could actually even be more authentic online in a sense that you can really take time to … for somebody introverted like myself, sometimes how you communicate in person isn’t really how you view yourself, it’s just your quirk. So I personally feel like I can communicate more authentically when I have the time and space to really think about it.

Halelly: That’s interesting. So it can be both more authentic and more distant, at the same time. It just depends on which direction you choose to take it.

Michael: Yeah.

Halelly: Interesting. And I think that definitely for introverts, having some more time to reflect and choose your words is probably a very welcome relief from that face-to-face barrage of having to think on your feet and kind of put out half-baked bread.

Michael: Yeah. And I think even for everyone, it’s an opportunity to put out blockbuster content. So you can really put in the time to … it wouldn’t happen in 15 minutes, it might happen, if you can really go deep and research a subject, synthesize it and then share it with other people, just in like 1,000 words you could completely change how someone thinks about a topic. You could shape a conversation online. So I think that’s a really big, such a large audience of people consuming content now and if you take that extra time, you could reach them. And I think there’s also a really big opportunity to connect to people on a more authentic level. And by sharing more of yourself, I think we’re online as a culture, increasingly, and I think that supports that authenticity where maybe offline, you really are expected to do it only with the people close to you. And it’s kind of awkward if you start sharing too much about yourself to people you don’t know really well, where online, it is kind of like a culture where it’s okay to do that.

Halelly: That’s true. I haven’t thought about that, how awkward that would be, if you’re in line in the grocery store and you were like, “Hi! I just had a baby and …” and people are like, “I don’t know you! You’re really weird!” Like we put on Facebook. I don’t know if you’ve seen this – there’s been this flurry of people proclaiming their privacy on Facebook and I exalt that Facebook shall not use my stuff. And I’m like, “You’re on Facebook! You can’t make them not share anything that you’re writing. If you want it to be really private, you probably just shouldn’t say it anyway!”

Michael: Right. When you think about it, it’s amazing how much open we’ve gotten in society. I remember in 2000, the idea of putting a photo on a website of yourself, like online, that was pretty crazy. And I remember hearing the founder of Hot or Not speak at my school when I was in college and him talking about that challenge of creating and trying to create a dating-type app. And people don’t want to upload photos. Now it’s kind of second nature to do that. Our society has changed a lot in that way.

Halelly: That’s true. Even if you think about it in the corporate world, I sometimes reflect on how it used to be a choice you had to make in your office, like what you display in your office that shows your personal life or your personality, and how some people kind of wanted to have a very professional façade and they wouldn’t put up pictures of their kids in their office. And now you’ve got drunk photos and pictures hiking with your kids, out there for everyone to see in futurity. And you can’t separate those personas anymore. Private and the public.

Michael: There’s a great researcher, I’ve really enjoyed her writing, named Dana Boyd. She works for Microsoft and she calls it contacts collapse, that offline, we can really say, okay, I’m talking to this person, so outside at the store, that’s a contact. And you know you can just customize it for that person and that context. Where online, everything you write is searchable by anyone. So it’s awkward in the sense that you could write something and then your high school friend could see it who saw you in a different way. Or your work people could see something on the personal. So it is awkward, we’re kind of having to navigate that. But on the other hand, it’s kind of time for maybe us to become more holistic in the sense of combining those. For me, at least it feels certainly more authentic just for myself to be able to … that people know those things and I’m not trying to hide as much. Of course we can’t share everything, but I kind of like that merging.

Halelly: I wrote a blog post about that once, merging identities and sort of crashing down those veneers and the separation is just something, it’s like a relic of the past. Anyone who is even trying to hold onto it, forget it. It’s not going to happen. Just be yourself. And it kind of makes you search within yourself about what kind of a person do I want to be? Because if everybody sees me in the whole glory, I shouldn’t keep deep dark secrets. Maybe I should work on that.

Michael: Something that was really transformative for me in how I think about it, I started my first company. It did really well, for a high school business. We got all this press and won a lot of awards. And I had this image out in the world of someone who is just this teen, like I think the media wants to write about, “Here’s the next teen success story.” And so I felt like I had to live into that. And when the business went down, it was a very challenging part. I tried to hold onto it. I didn’t tell anybody that the business went down for about a year, and I really learned when I finally started sharing with other people, like I just got an inpouring of support. That’s kind of when I felt like I could let go and really go onto the next thing, rather than holding onto an old identity. For me, that experience was transformative in that it was really seeing firsthand that you will be accepted as yourself. And I think people in terms of what attracts people to, like when I think about different podcasts or different people, I don't just necessarily read the people I agree with. I also really like people who are just being themselves. That might be somebody completely different than me, but you can tell they are just being themselves. And it just makes it more interesting.

Halelly: Yeah. And you know who you are dealing with, right? Because they’re not putting up a front. You can understand them better. Makes sense. I think that that’s something that’s good for anyone to take on, even leaders within organizations. And people are trying to kind of manage their personal brand and manage their career, so you have to be careful. You have to be mindful, or purposeful in what you put out. But that’s probably a good practice anyway.

Michael: Yeah. Exactly.

Halelly: So, was there something in your research, I know that you’re really building a great deal of thought leadership of this idea of how to connect and how to build relationships. Is there something that you think or that you found very surprising or counterintuitive about what you found that works?

Michael: Yes. There was. I didn’t coin the term – actually the chairman of Bain Consulting Company did – this idea of being an expert generalist. So, I think mostly when I think about relationship building, they think, “I have to be a connector or build a brand,” or things like that, and they just think about it within their niche, and what I’ve learned through research is that it’s actually really fulfilling and powerful for your career to go outside your circles and it’s hard for a lot of people. So Ron Burt is the professor I interviewed that I learned this from. He’s done several peer reviewed studies, where he just studied the one variable of whether someone has an open network – which means they have a lot of connections in different circles – or a closed network, which means almost everyone they know is in one area or a few areas. And basically he found out one variable explains 65 percent of the variance in someone’s career success. Sixty-five percent of I think the explained variance in someone’s career success is his exact wording, so it’s like they measured career success by promotions, by salary, by title. They mention across different sized companies – entrepreneurial to larger companies – so to really understand why this is so, I think it’s first to understand how people build networks and how they form. So if you just picture a room of people who are meeting each other for the first time, what’s going to happen is you’re going to have people start connecting, and then people who are like each other are going to connect and resonate with each other more, just homophily and then once you have these two people connected with each other, then it’s naturally going to connect a third person who is like each of them, to make the introduction. And so you start to have these cliques of people getting together, based on similarity. And then what happens is those different cliques, they form their own language, so you have to just look at different words. Like let’s say Silicon Valley has its own words – dilution, pre-IPO – different words that nobody knows outside of it, but when you know those words inside of it, it kind of shows that you know what you’re talking about, you can communicate more effectively, and I’m sure lots of companies, even just companies themselves, large companies, they create their own words for things.

Halelly: Definitely, yes.

Michael: So the negative of that is that forces the information to be more sticky. And it’s harder for insights to leave that group, because all the sudden you’re almost speaking different languages and you need translation. So something that one industry might learn a lesson that is really powerful, but it’s not automatically going to transfer to another industry because it’s a different language, and people, a group of people just like them, so what Burt calls them is brokers. They are part of multiple networks and they kind of see, “Okay, this could be moved over here.” They’re able to speak both languages and they can translate and help move information or make introductions of people across those lines. And that’s how he explained the success that brokers have.

Halelly: So what he was saying was the brokers had faster or more success than other people, because of that trait that they have?

Michael: Yeah. He didn’t say faster, but the more career success.

Halelly: More career success. And that’s really fascinating. So, from what you understood about these brokers, were they consciously making this effort to build bridges or to translate and cross pollinize? Or was it something they just sort of naturally did and didn’t notice?

Michael: He didn’t really go into that, in his research. However, I’ve thought a lot about that, and really followed different strands about, okay, let’s say you want to be a broker. How do you do that? And so I’ve thought a lot about that, and I think the very first key to being a broker is making the decision to be open to experiences that are different. And it sounds really basic, but I think once we hit our career, go into our career, we have much more to do than we could have done in a day. There’s this pressure to really over-focus on efficiency, getting as much done in as little time as possible. Being a broker, connecting to new worlds, it’s almost a different mindset because let’s say – I’m just making this up – let’s say I went to a biology or biotech conference, which is outside my area. It’s going to take a little while, going to be uncomfortable to meet people that I don’t know, to learn a new language. The benefits aren’t going to be as clear up front, because it’s just a whole new area. But then over the long term of doing that, you’re going to be much more innovative, and be able to make connections that other people wouldn’t. But I think in the short term, it’s something that is hard for people to do. It would be easier to read a business book, the next popular business book that everyone is reading, than a book completely outside the area that no one else in your field is reading.

Halelly: I know you’ve talked about, or written about, the T-shaped person, right? Which I think is so fascinating and I’ll let you explain it if you want to. I can certainly explain how I understood it, but I think that’s that idea of being a – did you say specialized generalist? What was the term you were using?

Michael: Expert generalist.

Halelly: So you’re not all over the place. I mean, you’re not just spraying in every direction. You’re selective in terms of the top of the T – it’s a certain length, certain number of things you’re interested in, and you do take some depth in those things that you’re interested in. So, I guess for someone who is thinking about becoming, this is me processing what you’re saying and trying to make connections for it myself, so if somebody wants to become one of these brokers, would you say that they probably want to be selective about how many different external areas they want to go and cross-pollenate – not pollinize as I said earlier, I made up a new word earlier!

Michael: Yeah. So, I think about it in two ways. First way is I think if you’re too much of a specialist, it’s risky. It’s risky because number one, we’re living in a world where there’s so much change happening and paradigms changing, so if you’re a specialist and you don’t know a lot about a lot of things, your fields could change fundamentally and you might not recognize it because you’re so focused. You might not be prepared for that change. Whereas if you’re more of a generalist, you’re going to see the trends and how they connect to each other and be able to recognize them and prepare for them. And you’re kind of someone who can adapt to different situations quickly. The disadvantage of being a generalist is kind of this proverb or quote about master of –

Halelly: Jack of all trades, master of none?

Michael: Exactly. I think we all know people like this, and I’ve been like this at earlier stages. Kind of like you want to learn about everything, and then you kind of don’t really gain a deep understanding and notice the underlying patterns. So, Orit Gadiesh who is the chairman of Bain coined this term, the expert generalist, to say someone who goes wide but then brings that wide understanding, diverse understanding, to their area of expertise to have unique insights. And what I’ve – this is just an area where I’ve really embraced this, because I’m naturally like this – but I kind of felt like I can be like this because I need to be focused and so I’ve kind of put down that side of myself and with this framework, I really just jumped in and it’s had a huge impact on my life. Because right away, I can have insights, original insights, that were valuable to others very quickly. Because if you’re reading the same trade pub – I mean, it’s obvious, but people don’t do it – if you’re reading the same publications as other people, the insights you’re having just aren’t going to be as valuable because other people have it. What makes something valuable is having an original idea that other people aren’t thinking about, that’s actually really powerful and effective.

Halelly: Awesome. I’m very much like that too. I have just a thought, my very nature is fight against specializing or niching. I just love to have my hand in a lot of different areas and I’m interested and I have talent in a lot of different areas, so it is also for me really exciting to hear about this. Yay, I don’t have to change my nature! It’s more like just hone it, right? Direct it.

Michael: Yeah, exactly.

Halelly: Very cool. Well, I know that we’re coming up on time here, and I always want to have something that is really specific, like one specific suggestion that people that are listening now can implement right away today, this week, that you think will help them ratchet up their effectiveness as leaders. So based on your experience, what would you say is one very actionable tip they can implement?

Michael: So, I do have an answer for this. So there’s lots of articles – and I’ve written a lot about habits – and habits are taking something that you think about a lot and just making it automatic. And of course that makes things more efficient, but I would say that people should also have a habit of doing things that are uncomfortable, that are outside their comfort zone and outside their knowledge area. And try to set aside time everyday or every week to go outside and do that. And there’s this wide body of research on expert performance and deliberate practice, and the key is to deliver a practice, or number one key is to have variation. Because if you practice the same thing over and over and you don’t try to get better, then you’re not going to improve. So I think adding that habit for variation will have a really big impact for people.

Halelly: That’s a neat idea. Can you give maybe one specific example, either that you’ve done or you know someone has done, that can help get this more concrete?

Michael: So one is I would look for, let’s take your reading habit – could be articles or books. I would look for people, disciplines that bridge your discipline. I’m just making this up. Let’s say somebody is in tech, to go and read a book on biotech. Or when I was writing on relationships, it was natural for me to interview people on network science. Because network science is around relationships. The reason that’s easier is it’s much easier to go to something that bridges it because you already have a common, you already understand. You can kind of leapfrog because you already have a base understanding, whereas if I had jumped right into biology or mathematics or something like that, it’s like learning a whole new language. Maybe it’s the difference between going from learning Spanish to learning French, versus learning Spanish and then learning Chinese. So if you kind of tried bridging from discipline to discipline, it’s a lot easier and you get rewarded much more quickly.

Halelly: Makes a lot of sense. Okay, so listeners can, as an example, read something that’s outside of their own general discipline or their own area but that has maybe like if it’s a Venn diagram it kind of crosses over or has some kind of overlap so that it’s not completely zero-context whatsoever.

Michael: Yeah, and the exciting thing is you kind of build up this web of knowledge of all these interrelated areas and how they connect to each other, and you also understand, you’re able to understand deeper principles from that. And for me I think the exciting thing is all the sudden, it dramatically accelerates your learning, because any new thing you’re exposed to, you have this context you can bring to it and it’s hard to explain the acceleration that happens in your learning as a result of this.

Halelly: I love it. Great. Thank you so much. So what’s something that’s exciting on your horizon? What are you super charged up about right now?

Michael: So I’m really excited, I’m creating a new company. Haven’t publicly launched yet, but it’s creating content that really is focused on creating ideas that are original. They can be really beneficial to people by synthesizing the insights of world’s top experts and top researchers and sharing that. So I think a lot of the content on the web is designed around speed or sharing quickly, and I think there’s value and a space for creating kind of these blockbuster articles that can really shape a conversation.

Halelly: Wow. That sounds exciting. I can’t wait to see more, to hear more. So how can people keep in touch with you and hear more about what you’re working on, and if they have questions or just in general get to know you?

Michael: I’ll share my email, Michael@iempact.com. And I’m on Twitter under Michael D. Simmons.

Halelly: Yes, and everyone should check out your Forbes column, which I will link to in the show notes, and I’ll link to anything else that you want me to in the show notes. I really appreciate your insight and sharing that with the TalentGrow Show listeners today, Michael. I appreciate the work that you do. I think that it’s exciting and thank you for being a curious person and thank you for sharing that with us.

Michael: It’s so nice to meet you in person, virtually, like this and I’m really honored that you had me.

Halelly: Great. Thanks Michael. Make it a great day.

So what is something that you can do today that takes you outside of your discipline, outside of your clique, outside of your network, and stretches you a little bit so that you can begin to grow your own learning and also to grow the others that you add to others? As Michael said in his research, this is something that’s going to accelerate your career, so there is no downside to it. I hope that you’ll do something, and I want you to tell me what it is! Please, go to the comments on the page on my website that has the show notes for this episode, which of course links to Michael’s website and to some of the research that we mentioned and to the ways in which you can keep in touch with Michael. That’s www.talentgrow.com/podcast/episode18. And, just go to the comments and tell me what are you doing to become a bridge builder? I really would love to hear it.

If you’re not already signed up for my newsletter, this is a great opportunity for you to also do that. It’s right there, in the bottom of the show notes, and I would love to welcome you to that distribution list and to send you some really great tips and ideas and articles and links. It’s very short and easy to read, and very upbeat, and that comes out twice a month. So, join the newsletter, be part of my group and I’d love to keep in touch with you that way. Thank you for listening. I appreciate you. Make today great.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to the TalentGrow Show, where we help you develop your talent to become the kind of leader that people want to follow. For more information, visit TalentGrow.com.


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