The Greenlight Highlight: How A Pastor and Consultant Extends Generosity to Build Sustainable Relationships

George Newman
Chicago, Illinois
Greenlight Member Since: August 2010
Nominated by Greenlight member Kibibi Springs

Elevator Pitch: I am a consultant to churches and the nonprofit industry, helping with organizational change related to servicing members. As a pastor it is my passion and goal to help others achieve what they need and desire.

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

As a pastor and a minister I needed to improve the relationships with the young people in my church in order to help guide them in their spiritual life. I also realized having people in my life who would hold me accountable and provide structure, are important to my success. Learning from others’ mistakes and allowing people to steer me around the obstacles has been instrumental to my progress.

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

In my current consulting role, I am helping a pastor develop ministries to reach more people and get them involved and engaged in the organization. It’s exciting to know that my work will leave this organization in a better position, which is in alignment with my purpose. I’m helping others help others. The affirmation I receive in the form of feedback from my clients lets me know that I’m contributing in an important way and that is very rewarding. Continue reading

The Kind of People You Want in Your Life

For the most part, the people that you surround yourself with are your choice. A recent Forbes article makes the argument that you should make those choices carefully and include certain types of people. Here’s the list:

  1. The instigator. This is the person you call when you want to get things done because they always say: “Let’s do it.”
  2. The cheerleader. Someone who gets you pumped up and believes in you no matter what, sort of like Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life.
  3. The doubter. You always need someone to challenge you and make sure you’re really giving it your best shot.
  4. The taskmaster. The project manager type you need in your corner to make sure you’re not dropping any balls.
  5. The connector. As we always say at myGreenlight, it helps to have a great relationship with the kind of person who can connect you to the right people to make things happen.
  6. The example. This is usually your mentor, the person who has the experience and knowledge to help you get where you want to go, because they’ve already been there.

Do you agree with this list? What types would you add?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Heidi Roizen: To Build Real Relationships, Be Real

When you read the description of Heidi Roizen as a “legendary networker”, your first image might be someone with a stack of business cards, doling them out and shaking hands.

You would be wrong.

One of the key reasons that Heidi has had success in networking is because she genuinely cares about other people and builds real relationships with them.  And after you read this, you will also want to be one of her friends, even if only to get on her Christmas card list.

Heidi says:

“When I read somebody just shipped their product, or somebody just got a promotion, or somebody just had a baby, a little “attaboy” goes a long way in maintaining the relationship. People like to know that you’re thinking about them and that you notice when something happens to them, whether it’s good or bad. If someone experiences a death in their family, sending them an actual hand-written card is a really nice thing to do. It’s a human gesture. People appreciate that. And I don’t do it because I’m trying to manipulate. I do it because I think it’s the right thing to do as someone who cares about other people. But these things help. Continue reading

Fixing Your Gmail Autofill So You’re Not Emailing People at Old Addresses

Have you sent an important email to an associate and realized three days or three weeks later that they never got it because it was an ancient address that Gmail decided to autofill in without you noticing? And once you realized it, you picked apart Gmail but couldn’t figure out how to solve the problem?

Help is here: Complete instructions on how to change the auto-complete addresses in Gmail so that you don’t keep emailing a contact at his or her old address!

(It actually took me a good amount of time and help from a coworker to figure this out.)

  1. First you have to click on the Gmail tab under the Google header on the left side of the page and select contacts.
  2. Once you’re in the contacts section, you can search for the contact you wish to edit in the search field.
  3. Once you’re on the contact page, you can make edits.

Viola! These two minutes of work can save you from emailing the wrong address over and over again once and for all. Get to it immediately when you learn a contact has a new address.

Another idea: Next time you update your own email, send these instructions with your announcement to make it easy on your Gmail-using friends.

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Jeffrey Pfeffer: To Be a More Effective Relationship Broker, You Need New Friends

Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford University Professor and author of Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t, is also the author of a popular business school case study based on myGreenlight founder Keith Ferrazzi. During his Social Capitalist interview, Professor Pfeffer explained the importance of becoming central in your network and taking on what he calls a brokerage role.

Brokers, even the literal term, bring people together. I mean, if you think about it, what is a venture capitalist? A venture capitalist links people with technology with people with money. And the people with money probably know other people with money. They don’t know people with technology and vice versa. So the broker fills this kind of structural hole and brings the two groups together.

That’s one of the things that effective networkers do. They find people who could benefit from being in contact with each other and put them in contact. And thereby, their sales profit from bringing those groups together. By the way, in order to do that, you have to do something that I think Keith really exemplifies and great networkers do, which is that you have to meet a diverse and broad set of people from a variety of industries and from a variety of walks of life. Continue reading

Christine Comaford Explains How What You Wear Can be an Act of Generosity

Christine Comaford is the author of Rules for Renegades, which might make you think that her advice would center around self-expression and breaking the rules. While breaking the rules is certainly one of her favorite themes, during her Social Capitalist Interview she shared some interesting perspective on why being a chameleon and adapting to what others want to see can be an act of generosity and service.

Christine says:

“It’s service-oriented. It really is. So just like in rapport, we step out of ourself then we say, ‘What does that person need to see?’ So Monday for instance, I’ll be in New York City. I’ll be in a room of 40 CEOs of mid-market companies. Forget me, OK? I’m not relevant. What’s relevant is what can come through me. What do those guys need to see? What they need to see, based on talking to the folks who are sponsoring the event and just listening, is someone who’s conservative, someone’s who’s got some really good answers to what is happening in the world right now and how they should manage change. Someone who’s going to help them walk away with like five tips so they can manage the radical amount of change in their organization today. So yes, I don’t like wearing conservative suits, but I will wear one. That will make them feel safe. Rapport tools help us step out of ourselves. 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.

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?

An Unlikely, and Enjoyable, Networking Guide

I am currently reading the book MWF Seeking BFF, by Rachel Bertsche. I originally picked it up because it was getting a great deal of buzz, and also because, as an aspiring blogger myself, I am intrigued by the 52 Something in a Year genre.

But as I began to read, it became clear that what I expected to be a fluffy retelling of 52 wine-soaked girl nights was actually chock full of the same kind of relationship research that we used to build myGreenlight.

Chicago-based Bertsche sets out to try every possible channel to make new adult friends. While her ultimate goal is to meet a new, geographically-appropriate BFF (“best friend forever”, for anyone unfamiliar with the lingo) to augment her college and childhood friends in New York, what she effectively does is build a broad and diverse network of friends, acquaintances, and possible future resources.

By the midpoint of the book, she has a social schedule to rival Keith Ferrazzi himself.

In the process, she meets many people who share her desire to connect with more friends, but who are unsure of how to make it happen.

For so much of our lives, we depend on fate to deliver friends to us. When you are in elementary school, the boy next door is your best friend because he’s most convenient. The girl who sits next to you in English class becomes your confidant because you are working on the same projects. Sororities and fraternities provide a steady pipeline of social comrades during our college years.

Once we get to “real” life we are so comfortable with taking the friends who happen across our paths, that taking explicit steps to meet the people we want to spend time with feels artificial and contrived. But through Bertsche’s experience, it is clear that relationships built from purposeful outreach are just as genuine, and significantly more abundant, than the ones that happen by accident.

One long, slow dinner, coffee date, and yoga class at a time, she builds true friendships with a significant number of her prospective girlfriends. And along the way she makes frequent reference to the research that backs up the key success factors in growing real relationships – self-disclosure, supportiveness, interaction, and positivity.

The key takeaway is that purposefully seeking out connection is an effective way to expand your social circle, and real relationships are worth investing some effort.

Have you ever had to start over with building your social circle? How did you do it?

Mini Mission Monday

Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends.The rest aren’t bad people; they’re just acquaintances. – Jay Leno

Here’s a question for you.

When was the last time you gave someone new the chance to move up the ranks to become a true friend? There are no documented promotion criteria to move up the friendship ladder. Sometimes you just have to take a risk and give someone the chance to step up for you.

Your Mission:  Look through your to-do list or calendar for an activity/event where you need back-up from a friend. A ride. A recommendation. A wingman for an event. Think beyond your go-to friends and give someone new a chance to be there for you. It might feel like a stretch, but chances are good that he/she will want to help, and just making the gesture to ask can move a relationship to the next level.

Let us know what you asked and how it went.