Taking Relationships in the Workplace from Business to Social

Recently, a myGreenlight member shared that she finds it difficult to make introductions in the work place purely for social reasons. Her question, “Should social introductions be different from business related introductions?”, prompted the perfect opportunity to discuss how intimacy allows you to transition a relationship from strictly business to one with deeper meaning.

Social introductions in the workplace are no different than professional introductions in structure. The difference is the reason behind making the connection. Business introductions typically revolve around each person’s professional role and the benefits or dependencies that exist between them. Social introductions in the workplace center around passion points, the things that truly motivate and make people tick.

Getting to passion points requires taking the time to get to know someone beyond their work function or benefit to you in the workplace. This is where initiating a “long slow coffee, lunch or dinner” comes into play in your relationship building efforts. Carving out a moment to relax with a colleague sets the stage for you to initiate more intimate conversation centered around hobbies, talents, interests, values, and purpose driven goals. The objective is to discover how they spend their non-working hours so that you can connect them to like-minded people who enjoy the same things they do or share their aspirations in life. Continue reading

Who’s the Boss?

The importance of having a good relationship with your boss cannot be over-estimated. That’s why the more you understand about their likes, dislikes, and what they’re like as people, the more successful you can be.

A recent article in Forbes details some of the best questions you can ask to get to know your boss better. For the complete list of questions, check out the article, but here are a few of my favorites:

1. “What did your boss do before she was your boss? What was her previous position?”

Finding out where your boss is in their career helps you understand more about them. You can figure out where they are on their career trajectory, where they came from, and where they want to go. Understanding that makes it easier to “suss out how capable she is of handling all the responsibilities on his or her plate.”

2. “What does your boss value in the job?”

Understanding what aspects of the job are most important to your boss can help you understand the mentality with which they approach their work. Some follow-up questions would be “Is he/she intellectually stimulated by the work? Does he/she care more about internal politics or external exposure?”

3. “What does your boss value most in the people who report to her? Face time? Creativity? Or does she care more about autonomy, expediency, or attention to detail?”

This can help you understand what is expected of you – so you can focus on the areas critical to making your boss happy.

What tips do you use to make your relationship with your boss better? Do you have any tips to share?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Mini Mission Monday

Sometimes it’s hard to think of a good reason to reach out and ping someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Luckily, a) you don’t really need a reason at all and b) with a tiny bit of research, you can easily find one, anyway.

Your mission:

Log into your LinkedIn account (if you don’t have one – your mission is to make one) and look at the “Updates” section. Scroll through the list and you are likely to find that someone has a new position, has received a promotion, or is working on an exciting new project.

Send congratulations to people with changes to report. Take advantage of the chance to rekindle a relationship. Ask questions to encourage follow-up. Showing you are interested and aware of happenings in the lives of your connections gets you back on their radar.

Guest Blog: How Generosity at One Conference Led to Opportunities at Several Others

Mike BrunyFounder of AmbassadorBruny.com, Mike Bruny is an author and certified life coach.

As a myGreenlight alum, I’m always looking for opportunities to put the mindsets and principles to work. A few months ago I had an opportunity to put the myGreenlight teachings into practice at an event and it led to opportunities at many others.

Where It All Started

In June 2011 I was working on a program called, “Hashtags to Handshakes: The New Art of Conference Networking.” Many of the principles in my program have been inspired by participation in myGreenlight. I was heading to the National Urban League conference, which was held in Boston this year. I noticed they had a panel discussion that would be focused on networking. Staying true to what I teach in my program, I researched the panelist and noticed I knew at least one of them from some work I did a couple of years ago. I made sure that I reached out to my old contact letting him know that I am looking forward to his session and reconnecting.

The day of the panel discussion had arrived and I was ready to tweet about the discussion.  I noticed that in many of the sessions during the conference, it was a mission to find out the twitter handles of the speakers. I’m not sure why they didn’t put it up on a slide before the session began. So, before we got started I went up to the panelists and let them know that I am looking forward to tweeting their words of wisdom and would like to include their Twitter handle. They gladly gave it to me.

I did as I promised and tweeted the information that I found valuable and even put together a summary following the event and made sure to send it to the panelist (You can read the post here.)  They were very appreciative and it allowed me to keep the relationship alive with many of them. Continue reading

The Greenlight Highlight: A Client Experience Director’s Success with Relationship Mastery

Aimee Lucas
Associate Director – Client Experience, Crowe Horwath LLP
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Greenlight Member Since: May 2010
Nominated by Greenlight member Lorena Bin de Galvez

Elevator Pitch: My passion is helping the organization I work for make changes that meet our client expectations while also helping our employees succeed in their roles.

What experience in your past was the moment you recognized how important relationships are to your success?

Reflecting back, there should have been an “aha” moment. Instead, I have to say that my recognition of the importance of relationships to my success happened after I had already benefited from them. In my role at Crowe Horwath, the initial connections I formed in my professional career really paved the way for the opportunities that I was offered and able to step into in my career. Those relationships allowed me to develop quickly in my 15 + years here.

What’s the coolest things you’re working on at home or at work right now? Continue reading

The Secret to Making Even One Small Change

What kind of change is on your mind today? It might be simple, like trying to get yourself to visit the gym daily. It might complex, like deciding how quickly to expand your business. Either way, we all know, change ain’t easy.

Accountability helps. Experience it yourself by trying a mission from one of the myGreenlight Relationship Bootcamp lessons: Powerful Accountability through a Bite-Sized Behavioral Change. This mission starts to build a practice of tapping your network for accountability – why go it alone when others can help?

Find an Accountability Buddy

Your Mission: By building accountability around a small behavior change, you will taste the transformative power of having a committed network that won’t let you fail.

Make a commitment around a behavioral change that you know will improve your work: e.g., getting into the office 15 minutes earlier, exercising in the morning, or spending the first 15 minutes of every workday pinging prospects or circles of influence. Then email a target contact whom you think would enjoy the mission him- or herself. Ask him to be your partner in accountability by setting a meeting one week out to check in on your follow through — or you can even check in with each other daily. If you want to take it a step further, make this a regular weekly check-in during which you share a success, a challenge, and a commitment for the week going forward.

What’s your bite-sized change?

Turn Your Volume Up

There is a lot of advice out there on the right way to act at work. Obviously, maintaining a certain level of composure and professionalism is necessary, but does that mean you can’t be yourself?

Not necessarily.

A study by Kellogg School of Management offers some reasons why.

By being yourself we don’t mean that if you sing loudly and off-key at home, you should do the same thing at work. “We all have various masks that we put on and take off as we move through the day. We may act one way with a spouse and another with a close friend, one way at work and another at home. It’s not that we switch personae entirely, but we certainly offer different glimpses of our true selves to different people,” the author writes.

I like the way this person puts it: “I’m my true self at work, but I set my volume at 3 or 4 instead of 7 or 8.”

You may ask, why be myself at work? It’s easier to just be someone totally different. The answer is that “despite our best efforts, our true selves will always show through, and any contradiction will confuse the people we work with,” the author concludes. In other words, you may come off as fake.

Also you use up the energy you could otherwise be using on doing actual work. “You expend a lot of creative energy on keeping up appearances, and this can lead to stress,” the article reveals, and we all know nothing good can come of excess stress.

So why not give your real self a go?

Are you your real self at work? Do you think it’s worth it? Please share!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Mini Mission Monday

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Plato

Your success will eventually require you to deal with someone difficult, or to stay calm in a situation where someone else is creating tension.

When that time comes, the quote above is a powerful touchstone for finding a way to approach the challenge with generosity. Because no matter how caustic the personality, it is unlikely that the problem person wants to make your life harder. They are busy dealing with their own issues, and quite honestly, perhaps you are also working their last nerve.

Your Mission:

If you experience a tense moment today – take a breath and accept that the other party is most likely experiencing a challenge somewhere in their life. Find a way to reach through the tension and offer some kindness. Practice this regularly with strangers, and maybe it will eventually be key in managing an important business relationship.

Want to Meet New People? Go to a Grubwithus Dinner, Stat

Some quick notes about my first Grubwithus dinner last night. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a startup that organizes themed “networking” dinners in over 40 cities. They’re only “networking” events in the same redefined sense that we would use the word at myG: opportunities to connect with new people, share passions, cool ideas, our best knock-knock jokes, and be helpful to each other whenever possible.

Grubwithus has done a great job setting the stage for everyone to have a great time – Keith and our myG team would approve. For example, most of the dinners are built and promoted around what we would call an “anchor” – either an interesting person or a common interest to be discussed. Last night’s was anchored by Y Combinator Ambassador/Breadpig creator Alexis Ohanian, along with a panel of people from foodie-related startups.

There was one area where this particular dinner departed from Keith’s playbook: Beer and sweet sangria only, no wine list; a small complaint. But I could have used wine to get over my minor fangirl fluster because I love that darn Breadpig so much. (I also really like the company who made their promo video, Grumo Media.) But no matter.

Really, I only have this to say: If Grubwithus has dinners in your city, GO! And if they don’t, find an alternative, like meetup.com (or write grubwithus and see if you can bring them to your city).

This is purposeful social engineering at its best: Everyone is there to enjoy a dinner with strangers, and maybe turn some of them into to friends. That means everyone’s mental/emotional door is already cracked open to connection. Grubwithus is engineering that subtle shift across hundreds of dinners, in dozens of cities. It’s karmic goodness right up there with the TM folks trying to levitate the Pentagon for peace in the ’60s. But probably more effective.

Relationship Roundup

This week in the roundup, tips for advice that isn’t useful, extreme intimacy in the workplace, the power of LinkedIn for job seekers, more on relationship marketing, and expert insight for doing business in the social era.

Tips for handling off target advice – We often get questions in the myGreenlight community about how to handle the feedback and advice we seek from others, especially when it’s off track. HBR blogger and managing partner of Schaffer Consulting Ron Ashkenas and Schaffer Consultant Holly Newman’s article offers great tips managing these scenarios. Read it here http://bit.ly/AF0Hxg.

New levels of intimacy – This isn’t quite what we have in mind when we encourage people to foster intimacy in their working relationships, but you never can tell what may happen when you open the door of intimacy. As long it as also facilitates business goals I’m all for it. Read the study here http://bit.ly/wXrnBx.

LinkedIn reigns supreme – If you’re a job seeker, the place to be right now is LinkedIn. Above all other social media outlets, recruiters invest most of their time seeking appropriate candidates within the LinkedIn platform. Read more here http://tcrn.ch/wb3PN5.

More from Mari – Last week we recommended Mari Smith’s book on relationship marketing. This week we’re recommending you view her interview on Mashable. Enjoy.  http://on.mash.to/zca4iU.

Rules for business in the social era – I highly recommend tuning into Nilofer Merchant’s series of HBR blogs and/or her new book The New How to learn how the social era can change the way you look up and down your organization’s hierarchy. http://bit.ly/A0459E.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.