Recently, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about interim bosses-those globetrotting wiz kids who swoop into a company for a quick save, short-term assignment. One point truly jumped out: the notion that as a newcomer, especially a short-termer, must build relationships quickly. That´s not easy. It´s one thing to build a relationship and it´s another to build one quickly. Building relationships takes time, right? Well, what if you don´t have time? Then what?
This whole relationship-building thing got me thinking a little more about whether or not it´s something that can be taught. I think it can be taught if you give people a good reason for building relationships. But how do you convince people that relationship building is a good thing, something that invariably enriches a business not to mention one´s quality of life? In addition to selling any idea to an employee you need to show them that they have the skills necessary to embrace the concept you´re presenting. If something seems unreachable no amount of training is going to help.
One of the best ways to start is by highlighting for employees the skills they already have or at the very least the internal resources they can tap into. If they´ve never associated certain skill sets with themselves then your job is a little more challenging. Here´s a thought though-a major stumbling block for many people is what they can and cannot see within themselves. That can be painful and frustrating, too. Even for the employees who clearly have the skills, putting them into practice isn´t always easy. So instead of focusing on themselves and what they can do to build relationships they place too much emphasis on what other people are doing. Sometimes it´s much easier to watch what someone else is doing (whether they´re struggling or succeeding) than to look inward and examine how one is progressing. Still, it´s possible to become your own center of gravity. But what exactly does that mean?
Basically, if someone else, like a celebrity or an office superstar, becomes your center of gravity then you´re neglecting your own potential. Confession: this is straight from a concept I introduced in my last book [self-promotion alert, self-promotion alert] "Wish It, Dream It, Do It: Turn the Life You´re Living into the Life You Want" (which Barnes & Noble plans to bring out in a new edition-when? I can´t remember, but I´ll let you know).
Here are some questions to ask yourself and perhaps you can share them with your employees/colleagues. The questions are a good launching point for determining whether or not you put other people´s accomplishments ahead of your own potential"?¦
Also, just an FYI-my second book [another self-promotion alert!!!!] "Ice Cream for Breakfast: If You Follow All the Rules, You Miss Half the Fun "was just translated into Korean.
1. How frequently do I compare myself to others?
2. On what occasions am I jealous of other people?
3. What do they have that I don´t have?
4. Do I generally accept who I am?
5. For the most part, do I do things because I want to or because they seem like the thing to do?
6. Do I try to please others at the expense of my own well being?
7. What am I avoiding when I focus too much on what someone else is doing/accomplishing/celebrating?
Next time: more about relationship building