Ep20: Create a Connection Culture with Michael Lee Stallard

TalentGrow Show ep20 Create a Connection Culture with Michael Lee Stallard

In this conversation with author Michael Lee Stallard, I explore the meaning, stories, research, and suggestions in his book, Connection Culture. Mike and I discuss what he means by Connection Culture and why it can be a huge competitive advantage to every leader and organization. We chat about how to create cultures that bring about connection, community, cooperation, and collaboration. Michael shares ways in which a connection culture impacts health, stress, and the bottom line and how you can begin to create a better connection culture in your organization. And, find out how you can win a signed copy of Michael’s book – there are not one, but two ways to easily win this great book.

What you’ll learn:

Listen to Stitcher
  • What is a connection culture and where is there an opportunity for you and your organization?
  • Why do some organizational cultures suck your energy dry and some energize you and help protect you from stress, anxiety, depression, and even addiction?
  • Why is the rock band U2 a good role model for corporate cultures – learn why Michael chose to use it and how it helps convey the concepts in the book… plus hear some cool stories about death threats to Bono and heroic acts by his band-mate that you might have not heard about before
  • Is connection a superpower? Research says it is
  • What’s the counter-intuitive finding from Gallup’s research about the most impactful element to employee engagement
  • What is the big risk that comes with a lack of connection and why it’s not just relationships that suffer but also the bottom line
  • What’s the connection of connection to stress, disease, memory loss, and chromosome damage? Yikes!
  • What’s a common leadership mistake Mike has seen in his research and how to avoid it
  • Why is relationship excellence a crucial component of organizational excellence and can give you a competitive advantage?
  • What does Mike suggest to those leaders who are either too busy for cultivating a connection culture or find it unappealing?
  • What’s the exciting new research project that Michael has embarked on and how you could participate
  • What’s one action you can take this week to upgrade your leadership and connection effectiveness, and even improve your decision-making capabilities?
  • How can you win a signed copy of Mike’s book, Connection Culture, with minimal effort?
  • And more!

About Michael Stallard

Michael Stallard is the president of E Pluribus Partners and co-founder of ConnectionCulture.com. He speaks, teaches, coaches and consults with leaders to help them create workplace cultures that improve productivity, innovation and results.

Michael speaks and teaches at a wide variety of organizations including General Electric, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, NASA, Qualcomm, the U.S. Department of Treasury and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Texas Christian University established the TCU Center for Connection Culture based on Michael’s work.

Michael is the primary author of Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work and Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity. His work has been featured in media worldwide and he is a regular contributor to several publications including FoxBusiness.com and SmartBrief.

Michael has spoken at numerous conferences. He is a guest lecturer on leadership, organizational culture and employee engagement at several universities and institutes. He is a faculty member of the Institute for Management Studies and Executive Development Partners.

Prior to founding E Pluribus Partners, Michael was chief marketing officer for the private wealth management businesses at Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab. Earlier in his career, Michael worked as an executive at Texas Instruments, Van Kampen Merritt and Barclays PLC.

Resources

 WIN A SIGNED COPY of Michael's book - JUST COMMENT BELOW or email halelly at talentgrow dot com with your action item from the podcast!

WIN A SIGNED COPY of Michael's book - JUST COMMENT BELOW or email halelly at talentgrow dot com with your action item from the podcast!

Go to the website for the book, ConnectionCulture.com and take the free assessment (and while you’re there, scroll over to my guest post on Mike’s site about When You Should and Should Not Use Email)

Get the free 100 Ways to Connect ebook Michael has been kind enough to offer – it’s full of actionable ideas, plus you can stay in touch with him and get his helpful newsletter!

WIN A SIGNED COPY OF CONNECTION CULTURE, Michael Stallard's excellent book! Comment below this post [scroll down past the transcript] with your action item (from Mike's suggestion during the last few minutes of the podcast). You can also email it to me - halelly AT talentgrow.com.

Buy Michael Lee Stallard’s books on Amazon:

Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work
Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team's Passion, Creativity, and Productivity

Connect with Michael on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube. Want to participate in Mike’s research? Contact him!

Check out the podcast Halelly mentions about Intelligent Disobedience

Subscribe to Halelly’s free weekly newsletter.

Subscribe to Halelly’s podcast on iTunes (don’t forget to leave a rating and review!)

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

TRANSCRIPT

Announcer: Welcome to the TalentGrow Show, where you can get actionab le results-oriented insight and advice on how to take your leadership, communication a nd 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: Hey, hey, welcome back to the TalentGrow Show, and Happy New Year! 2016 is here and I know that I’m so excited about the goals that I have planned fo r this year and I hope that you’ve taken the time to do some planning and have some exc iting goals in store. This is our first episode of the new year, episode 20, and we have Michael Lee Stallard who is an author and an entrepreneur, and we talk about his latest book, Connection Culture, and why having connections at work and having a connection culture in your organization is not just nice to have, fluff, but in fact it is crucial for the well being of the employees and the competitive well-being of your organization. We talk about what that means, how it connects with the band U2, and what are some common mistakes that leaders make that you can avoid. So this is a very actionable episode, but there is something in store for you in this episode, which is a chance to win a signed copy of Mike’s book, Connection Culture. So he’s been generous to offer three copies up for the raffle, which I will tell you all about at the end of the episode. Be sure to stay tuned so that you can find out how you, too, can win Mike’s new book. I’m Halelly Azulay, and this is the TalentGrow Show and I look forward to hearing from you at the end. Here we go, episode 20...

Welcome back to the TalentGrow Show. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist, and I am here with Michael Lee Stallard, co-founder and president of E Pluribus Partners. He speaks, teaches, coaches and consults for a wide variety of business, government, education and health care organizations, like General Electric, Google, Johnson and Johnson, Lockheed Martin and NASA, among many others. And Michael is the author of a great new book called Connection Culture, which I have right here and as a matter of fact which we are going to be sending to you, potentially, if you win our raffle. So stay tuned for more information about how to win Michael’s book at the end. He also is the author of other books, Fired Up or Burnt Out: How to Reignite your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity, and has contributed to several other books like What Managers Say, What Employees Hear and others. So Mike, thank you for joining me on the TalentGrow Show and welcome.

Michael: Thank you Halelly. It’s great to be with you.

Halelly: I am really happy that you took the time to be with me as well and to share your knowledge with our listeners. Before we get started with some of the specifics, especially around what you’ve written about in this latest book, I like to hear a little bit of a quick snapshot of your professional journey. It’s always very hard to do with illustrious careers like yours, but if you can give us a general sense of where you’ve been to get here?

Michael: Well, I’m glad you said illustrious, because I thought you were going to say maybe schizophrenic or something? And I think your listeners will s ee what I’m talking about when they hear my career trajectory. It’s a little all over the place, but I started out of college, working for Texas Instruments in the semiconductor division down in Texas. I grew up and went to school in the Midwest, so it was an adventure going down to Texas for me. And I worked in finance and marketing at Texas Instruments, and I came to learn that to really rise in that company, you al most had to be an engineer and I had no interest in engineering, quite honestly. So I ended up going where finance was the core of the business, which was to Wall Street, and I worked in investment banking on Wall Street and also worked in asset management, another part of Wall Street, and ran marketing for private wealth management for a couple of organizations – Morgan Stanley and the high networth part of Schwab, which was called U.S. Trust at the time. Over the course of my career, I just saw that cultures were very different, because I had worked at different places and some fired me up and others burned me out, and that started to get me interested in this whole topic of culture and leadership. And then eventually I left Wall Street, in 2002, and founded a firm called E Pluribus Partners, based on America’s motto, E pluribus unum which means out of many, one.

And our firm is really laser focused on how do you create cultures that bring about connection, community, cooperation and collaboration? How do we get everyone moving in the right direction, giving their best efforts, aligning their behavior with organizational goals, etc. I hope to be doing that until I drop dead, Halelly, so we’ll see. I really enjoy it.

Halelly: Well, hopefully that means a long and much more illustrious time from here going forward.

Well, thank you for that, and it is very interesting. In fact, one of the things that interests me most is to hear people’s career journeys because I find that most of them are kind of not a straight and narrow line and very interesting. I’m very curious about how people get from here to there because it’s rarely in a very similar way, even if it’s within the same career path. So your latest book, which is called Connection Culture, let me read the subtitle – The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work. And so I’d love for you to share with the listeners what that really means to have a connection culture, and where is there an embedded opportunity for them when they understand and use this concept?

Michael: Well, Connection Culture the book is about subcultures in organizations. And every organization, when you look at the research Halelly, and as you know, you see that there are some subcultures and organizations that really energize people and others that are sucking the energy and life right out of them. And every organization has that mix. I just became interested in how to understand those and ultimately came up with a framework that argues there are three types of subcultures in organizations, from a relations standpoint, that really affect our energy, our health, our productivity, and we call them the best subculture being a subculture of connection, where people feel connected to their supervisor, the people they work with, their organization’s identity, mission, its values, its reputation, and that energizes them. And also protects them to some degree from stress, just as performance expectations are going up in just about every area of the economy, we experience more stress. And if you don’t have those relational resources, you’re very vulnerable to anxiety, depression and ultimately addiction. The other two subcultures, which are not idea, are cultures of control. And I always – I’m probably dating myself – but I always think of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as kind of the ultimate controlling leader. And then there’s the third subculture, a subculture of connection, and this is one that we see is rapidly growing in our society. It’s a culture where people are just so busy with tasks and feeling overwhelmed from the number of tasks that they don’t take time or have time to build supportive relationships, and as a result they feel unsupported, left out and lonely. And this has an affect on our biology, it affects our happiness, our productivity, our longevity. We need those cultures of connection because we’re hardwired for that and when those needs are not met, we dysfunction. So that’s the thesis of the book.

Halelly: And it’s a great read because I think that it’s short, it uses lots of examples, and it really helps people hone in on what they need to do, which I think is useful. I found it really interesting that you kick off the book with a story about the rock band U2, because most business books don’t talk about rock bands or use them as a big metaphor, I guess, for the storyline or the main point of the book, but you did. So, maybe you can give us a little bit of a ... I want people to read the book so they’ll definitely go out and get it or maybe they’ll enter our contest and win it, but just give us a little nugget about what is the connection between the connection culture and U2? And then I guess I have a three-point question – why did you choose it, and how are people reacting when you talk about this in a business getting or when they’re reading about it in your book to this use of your example?

Michael: Well, it’s a very good question. It’s unusual to start a business book on a rock band, but what I found is it’s a simple illustration. It’s a story that really resonates with people worldwide, so for example, in January I’m in Amsterdam, Brussels, Scotland, and I’ve been there before and used that story and I just find that really resonates with everyone. There seems to be a lot of interest in this particular band, and when you look at their story, Halelly, what you find is they started out as four boys who were 14 and 15 years old when they started. And when they started, they were not very good. Because even though Edge, the lead guitar player was talented at a young age, and Larry Mullen who actually started the band who is the drummer and the youngest member of the band, he was talented, Bono tended to scream – the lead singer – he thought of himself as a punk rocker and I think he was amusing on stage and so that helped them but they didn’t sound very good. And Adam Clayton, the bass player, had never taken lessons. He owned a bass guitar and he couldn’t keep time, a problem with that. So it was a bit of a disaster. But here’s a group that got a pretty rough start and today they’ve won more Grammy awards than any band in history. They surpassed the Rolling Stones’ record for the highest revenue-producing concert in history. They are wildly successful.

And you know, how did that happen? How did they go from a band that people laughed at an booed, and when you dig into their story what you find is that Bono, who is the lead singer, lyricist and de facto leader of the band, he does what we see in leaders who create connection cultures. He communicates an inspiring vision and lives it. He values people. And he gives them a voice. And you see that in that vision value voice paradigm. You see it in U2 in that their vision is their music promotes human rights and social justice issues. And Bono and his wife Ali live it. They created charitable organizations to support the poor, particularly in Africa, so they walk the talk. And also, Bono values people. And you see, there are many examples of that. Number one, they split their economic profits five equal ways between the four band members and their manager. It’s a very objective way of seeing how they value one another. You also hear Bono talking about how he describes himself as a lousy keyboards and guitar player –he’s probably exaggerating, I imagine – but he says that it’s because of these gifted friends of his, together they bring music to life. And he’s always affirming them both for their confidence, but also for their character. It’s interesting to just look at interviews with him. He holds his band members in very high regard. They are a band of brothers in – well, not the most literal sense – but there’s a strong sense of connection among the band members and you also see it in how they’ve supported one another through hard times.

So for example, when about a year after the band was formed the drummer, Larry Mullen, his mother was hit and killed in a car accident, and Bono reached out to him to say, “I’m going to help you get through this,” and Bono’s mother had died just a couple years earlier. So he really helped Larry get through a tough time when he was blind sighted losing his mom at such a young age. And they helped Edge, the guitar player, through divorce, Adam Clayton through a drug addiction he had developed, and the guys have had his back too. Bono had received a death threat and one of the band members, Adam Clayton who had the drug addiction, they were playing in Arizona and they received a note that said, “Bono, if you play this song Pride,” which is about the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., “Then I’m going to blow your f-ing head off.” And the FBI told the band they believed it was a legitimate threat. So they decided they wouldn’t back down. They got on stage and when the part of that song that’s about Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and it talks about the bullet and the guy that killed Reverend King, Adam Clayton, Bono’s eyes were closed as he was singing. Adam Clayton walked over and stood in front of him, literally, and when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bono thanked Adam for being willing to take a bullet for him. Now, that’s an extreme case, obviously. But there are many, many things in their culture that unite them, including the way they make decisions, which I talk about in the books and in articles I’ve written about the band.

Halelly: First of all, U2 should be sending you some kind of a check for promoting their image! It’s very interesting because it’s probably more than many of us – unless you’re like a die hard U2 fan, you don’t know these things – so that’s really interesting. And I like that, because it’s a very accessible example that is known in the world over, and for people of many different generations can probably connect with it pretty easily. So I like that. So how do they react? I take it that people really like that you use that story?

Michael: I think they find it inspiring, but also when I go through and kind of deconstruct their culture, it’s very clear that the things that we’ve identified bring about unity. So I think it really helps people grasp the ideas quickly and in a workshop, if you have more time, it’s also interesting to look at cultures, a band culture, say, that doesn’t have that connection. There actually was a great documentary that Showtime did on the band Eagles, which is one of my favorite bands. But the Eagles culture was a bit of a disaster. They actually broke up for 14 years because quite honestly, when you look at that documentary, you would say they probably hated each other. It was very toxic and they needed 14 years to recover from the culture. And they’ve gotten back together now and I think they’re in a better place, which I’m delighted that they are. But they’re not going to be as successful as U2 when you look at revenues and impact. It’s just U2 is really at the very top of – not quite like the Beatles – but they’re right up there at the top in terms of just economic revenues and critical success.

Halelly: I think that’s really important. You’re not sort of saying, “Oh, let’s all hug and sing Kumbaya. It makes everyone feel good.” You’re connecting it to objective, measurable productivity and monetary results, which is what lots of people in business care about, and don’t always see the connection between that and connections with people. And I think that the other strength of your book was that you have a lot of research behind it, and you devote a whole chapter to scientific research that helps connect some of the suggestions you make – well, not some, all of the suggestions you make – to the research that’s now thankfully really growing in the last few years, especially out of the field of neuroscience, that helps us see why connection is actually a super power, as you say. So what are maybe one or two of your favorite pieces of research that helps us connect those dots?

Michael: Well, one I think is counterintuitive is that – and this comes from Gallup's research, it’s based on a study with 140,000 respondents – and they concluded that who you work with is more important than what you do when it comes to employee engagement. Now that’s very counterintuitive. I think most people would say that it’s actually, “What am I doing? What is my role in the organization? That’s going to be the most important to my engagement.”

But the research shows it’s actually who you do it with, who you’re working with that has the greatest impact. And just a side, a second piece of research that’s really grabbed my attention is what I learned from just about the stress response, how when we’re in, if you think of a continuum, where one side of that continuum is people feeling connected and supported and safe, so that they can aspire to do great things, and the opposite end of that continuum, people feeling unsupported, left out or lonely, and trying to accomplish great things because they have the performance pressures and the side of the continuum where people feel connected, there’s a higher probability that their body is going to be at a state of balance or homeostasis when it comes to the allocation of blood glucose and oxygen. So that all of their bodily systems get the resources that they need to be healthy and perform well. If they’re on the opposite end of that continuum, where they feel unsupported, left out or lonely, there’s a higher probability they will be in the stress response so that blood glucose and oxygen is allocated to the heart, the lungs, the thighs, the big muscles, preparing the body to fight or flee the threat. And it’s under allocating – so it’s robbing parts of the body, robbing Peter to pay Paul so to speak – and it’s under allocating blood glucose and oxygen to parts of the brain, the digestive system, the immune system and the reproduction system. Those are systems the body does not anticipate using to fight or flee.

So it kind of puts those on hold. And that’s fine, if you’re being mugged, you want that stress response. However, if you’re stuck in a state of psychological stress for a long period of time, that imbalance will kill you. And that’s effectively what’s happening. It just makes your body vulnerable to infection, to disease. You start to lose declarative memory so it’s harder for you to remember people’s names or things that used to be on the tip of your tongue. You could just pull them up fairly quickly. So the research shows – and there’s a lot of other neuroscience research that shows the effects to neurotransmitters in the brain, hormones throughout the body and enzymes that repair damage that stress does to our chromosomes – so connection has a positive effect on all of those things.

Halelly: We really are social animals. I talk about that a lot in my work and how when you are in that threat response, you’re actually the least creative, the least able to solve complex problems, the least able to quickly recuperate from kind of disappointments or any kind of challenges. Is this the kind of employee you would like working on your team? The kind whose brain is just being hijacked completely by this stuff? Doesn’t make any sense, so it’s so important and I’m so thankful that there is now more science that shows it, because a lot of us probably in our field, I guess, people that help organizations perform better knew about it maybe even before the scientific research proved it, right?

Michael: Right. I love that about your work, that you emphasize the importance of relationship and you draw in that research in neuroscience.

Halelly: I love it. It’s really important and I think that it helps get some of those people on board that otherwise think it’s fluff. So lots of leaders make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Are you seeing any common mistakes that you know can be avoided with some of the help from your book and from your work? What’s one really common leadership mistake that you can help leaders avoid?

Michael: Well, the common mistake I see is that leaders are laser focused on task excellence, but they don’t, they’re not intentional about developing relationship excellence. And often times it’s because they’re not comfortable with it. And so they tend to default to what they’re most comfortable with and tend to not devote time or resources into developing their relationship excellence that every organization needs to thrive for a long period of time. What we see is that when you don’t have that relationship excellence, it effects the organization in several ways. One, people don’t give their best efforts, because if they don’t feel supported it doesn’t have the positive effects that a connection that we talked about in terms of wellness, well being, cognitive function, etc. They don’t align their behavior with organizational goals, they don’t tend to communicate unless, especially those times in when it may be unsafe to communicate but decision makers need that information to make the best decisions, and they don’t really participate in innovation. So those five benefits of having connection, or drawbacks of not having connection, add up to a pretty powerful competitive advantage or disadvantage, depending on how much connection you have in your organization. So that’s just what I see, a lack of intentionality about developing relationship excellence in a connection culture.

Halelly: And one of my former episodes was about this whole idea of intelligent disobedience. And how it is really important to be courageous and to stand up to bad instructions, but if someone is in that kind of “I’m fighting for my life or I’ve got to protect myself” mode, they’re going to be a lot less likely to do that. And leaders that continue to move forward with a bad decision and organizations moving forward with bad ideas like that are going to all suffer as a result. So I can totally connect with what you just said there.

So I know I’m envisioning several of the leaders that I’ve talked to in my work who say one of two things – either, “Look, Halelly, I don’t really have the time for that. I have so much pressure, there’s so many deadlines. I don’t have time to go talk nice to people and ask them about their day. I don’t really care about their day! I don’t really care about their family. I mean, I care about it, but I don’t really want to hear about it because I don’t have time for that kind of chit-chat.” So that’s one thing, I feel like there’s a lot of leaders that just feel like, “This is such a waste of time. If I had extra time I’d do it, but I don’t.” And then I have the other ones that I meet that maybe they’re more introverted, maybe their personality is not the most highly social. They’re very driven, they’re very ambitious, they’re very focused on maybe practical results, and to them it feels really uncomfortable to try to maybe reach out and connect with people on a relational level. So are there a couple of quick tips you can share about what can people actually do?

Michael: Well, I think for the person who just feels so overly busy they don’t have time to focus on, I would encourage them to look at their “to do” list and try to narrow it down to three to five priorities that they’re focused on. Because often times I’ll find that leaders are trying to do too much and they lack focus. And this is a great time of year to do it – early in the year, identify your top three to five priorities and put them on a paper and right on your desk so you can keep them in view every day, and that will help keep you on task. Because when you have that drift, in terms of focus so that you become unfocused, then it creates a lot of work for everyone because it’s just helter skelter and people are trying to do too much, so they don’t do what you should be focusing on well. So that’s what I would encourage them to do. Really have top three to top five priorities to focus on.

For the person who is the introvert, I would encourage them, number one, you can change. You can become more extroverted and effective at connecting with people. And it’s a must if you want to achieve great things because unless people feel connected to leaders, it really undermines their ability to perform at a high level. And so what I would encourage them to do is to find someone they trust who they see has the skills that they’re trying to develop, and ask that person to mentor them. And if they’re not available, hire a coach. It’ll be money well spent. But first look in your organization and do this outside of work too. It’s good to have friends, spouses in my case, who are extroverted. I know my wife Katie has had a huge impact on me. Her mom was just extremely social and all of her children have those great social skills and I’ve learned a lot from just being around my wife. So I would encourage them to find support, because you can’t do it alone. And you really need it to be successful and long-term as a leader.

Halelly: Okay, good. Thank you. All right, so we’re heading up into the end of this podcast and I always feel sad at this point because there’s a million other things I would like to ask you. One thing that I always end with is one specific action that you recommend listeners take this week to upgrade their own leadership skills. But before that, what’s new and exciting for you? Do you have a new project or a new discovery that’s got your attention?

Michael: Well, we’re doing some research in organizations. I have a new partner, Dr. Todd Hall who is based in Los Angeles. He’s a professor at Biola College and we’re excited about some new research we’re doing. If any of your listeners have organizations where they’re interested in participating, they can get ahold of me and we would consider their participation. Because we want to have a mix of organizations that are in business and in health care and higher education and government, and what we’ll be doing is assessing the degree of connection and just the type of subcultures I talked about, and then tracking it along with metrics to see what type of impact it has.

Halelly: Oh great. That’s really helpful. So much of the research, the downside of it, is that it’s done with students in university settings. So I find a lot of those inquisitive and challenging kinds of business people say, “That doesn’t apply here.” So giving them examples of actual work settings and how it applies will be a very, very big bonus. So good, thank you for that. And I will include the mention of that in the show notes and suggest for how people can get in touch with you. So, we’re going to end with you telling us how to get in touch with you, but what’s the one specific action, just something that is totally actionable that people can do right away that can upgrade their leadership skills?

Michael: Well, I would think about the most important issues they’re considering right now –decisions they have to make – and seek the opinions and ideas of other people. Put your, I call it putting your cards on the table. “Here’s what I’m thinking about this issue.” Find a trusted advisor. Maybe it’s a coach like Halelly, and say, “Here’s what I’m thinking. What’s right? What’s wrong? What’s missing from my thinking?” And then be quiet and listen. Thank them for their ideas that they’ve shared, write them down, and follow up and let them know what you’re going to do about it. I just think it’ll make you a better decision maker because it’s expanding your base of knowledge to help you make optimal decisions.

Halelly: Great. So come out of the isolation bubble and get input from others and actually listen to it and thank them for it.

Michael: Exactly.

Halelly: Awesome. Well, Mike, we’re out of time and I so appreciate that you gave your time to the listeners of the TalentGrow Show. I think that ever yone will benefit rom listening to it, and I think tha t they will benefit from reading your book. So, what I want everyone who is listening to do, if you want to win a copy of Mike’s book – and he has very generously provided three copies, signed copies, of Connection Culture– I will raffle it among the people who leave comments on this episode. So go to www.talentgrow.com/podcast and go to this episode and put in the comments, what’s that one important decision that you sought input from a mentor on, based on Mike’s suggestion here? So we want to see you putting this action into play and we want to hear from you about how that went. So when you put in that comment, I am going to randomly choose three winners from the commenters and get in touch with you and send you your very own copy of Mike’s book. Mike, how can people stay in touch with you and learn more about what you’ve got to offer?

Michael: Thank you Halelly. They can go to www.connectionculture.com, and I would encourage them to sign up for the free 28-page eBook. It has 100 ways to connect. It’s a mix of attitudes, uses of language and behavior that we started gathering when we were doing work with the engineering section of the NASA Johnson Space Center. But then also, pulled from higher education, from health care, from business. It’s a real mix of things that make this concept of creating a connection culture very actionable.

Halelly: Yeah, you shared it with me and I really do think it’s very, very helpful. You don’t want to have to do all 100 things. You have to just do a couple of them. You’re already going to be on your way to becoming more connected and to creating more of a connection culture. So I will absolutely put a link to that in the show notes, along with everything else that we mentioned. Mike, thank you so much for your time, and listeners, make today great.

Okay, are you ready for this challenge? Take up the suggestion Mike made, because I can tell you from personal experience it makes a huge difference. And, you can read his book for free if you win it! So, let’s do this. Take up our challenge and join in the fun. So, I want to add something else that you can do to win.

Like I said, you can enter a comment on the show notes page, which is www.talentgrow.com/podcast/episode20, and just go scroll down to the comments and enter a comment about your planned action, based on Mike’s suggestion, and you will be automatically entered in this raffle. But, wait, there’s more! You can also enter – I know some people don’t like to enter public comments if you feel shy, if you feel introverted – no problem. All you have to do is email me. If you email me with your intended action or with a comment about how you plan to take action on Mike’s suggestion, I will enter you in the raffle as well. So you email me, halelly AT talentgrow.com, and I will enter you, or you put a comment on www.talentgrow.com/podcast/episode20.

And if you’re not yet a member of my newsletter, which is free, why not? Let’s change that, okay? Just either email me or go on my website, www.talentgrow.com, and on the right-hand side it’s easy. You can just enter your name and your email address and I will get you the very next issue. It comes out every other week. It’s very quick to read. It’s got an upbeat tone and kind of informal, and it always has actionable advice – one quick tip, a link to my latest blog, a link to other articles and things that I’ve written, ways to come and see me live in action, andother helpful information for your leadership and communication skills development.

So, I hope that you will join me this year on my newsletter and I hope that you will leave a comment or email me and I hope that you make this year great. Thanks for tuning in. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here on the TalentGrow Show, signing off. 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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