The Greenlight Highlight: How a Corporate Productivity Professional Builds Authentic Relationships for Business Success

Charlene DeCesare
Salem, New Hampshire
Greenlight Member Since: August 2010
Nominated by Greenlight member (George Newman)

Elevator Pitch: I am responsible for building membership for the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). Our focus is on the unique people practices of high performance organizations. I have a passion for helping people and companies achieve their highest potential and feel intensely grateful to be doing what I love.

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

When I was at Gartner, I had a strong sense that there was untapped potential with myself and my colleagues all calling into the same clients, selling slightly different events and services. So, I created a strategic partner model that focused on assigned accounts, building relationships, and horizontal selling through referral. People bought more from me because I took the time to truly understand their business and map solutions at a much higher level. Ultimately they took my recommendations and spent more money because they liked and trusted me personally. I grew a small set of accounts by 46% in the first year and eventually helped manage a global team. Within just a few years, we grew $2M to $38M across a very small set of accounts and I know that exponential growth continued after I left. The (not so) secret sauce is in building relationships and becoming a trusted advisor. Continue reading

A Simple Exercise to Overcome Shyness

If social interactions stress you out, you might be interested in this Psychology Today piece offering some simple exercises to overcome shyness and social anxiety.

The author suggests some group improvisational exercises that are worth checking out. But for those who want something they can do on their own, there’s this one:

“…go to a mall at a busy time of day. Take off your watch. Ask twenty people for the time of day. Use three minutes between requests. You log the results of each encounter. You later look at your findings. Here is what you are likely to find. Most will give you the time of day. Some will walk past you as though you didn’t exist. A few may engage you in a brief and pleasant conversation.”

The idea is to approach enough people that it starts to feel natural.

Anyone else have ideas for “safe” ways to practice interacting with strangers?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

The Greenlight Highlight: How a Seasoned Project Manager Uses Relationship Mastery to Foster Teamwork

Joseph Katucki
Wallingford, CT
Greenlight Member Since: June 2010

Elevator Pitch: “I’m not afraid of trouble, I like solving problems. I am a Project Manager specializing in turning around troubled projects. Currently I’m creating a leadership development program. I also mentor small businesses through the SBA’s SCORE program.”

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

About five years into my professional career, I remember looking around the office and noticing who were getting fun assignments and promoted the fastest. It was those individuals who were personally and/or socially connected with the management chain.

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

I am leading the charge on an innovative leadership development program for the nearly 1,800 members of the Southern New England Project Management Institute (SNEC-PMI). It’s a program that includes a 360 leadership skills assessment, one-on-one feedback and coaching by a Center for Creative Leadership accredited leadership coach, three 3-day workshops facilitated by a hired consultant, and two 1-day events that will be open to the larger SNEC-PMI community.

The lessons I’ve learned about working with a volunteer organization have been invaluable. It’s taken a lot more time to get things moving and I have to approach every interaction with extreme generosity as every individual I rely on is there on a gifted basis. Continue reading

Relationship Roundup

Repeat after me, “perception is reality, perception is reality, perception is reality.” That’s the theme of this week’s roundup, along with some business hacks to assist your sanity, and productivity as we race to close Q3.

Perception management tips from royalty – Perception is reality and when leading any charge, critical to success. Scott Elbin’s blog details the superior perception management skills of the Windsor’s and how we can use their strategies to manage our day-to-day reality. Read Scott’s blog here: http://bit.ly/LvEPyP.

Managing internal relationships – When you manage people the buck inevitably stops with you. However the image you project and the relationship you build with your workers will equate to the quality of work you receive from the team. Author of What Great Bosses Know, Jill Geisler, shares how to build quality relationships. Read her Poynter.org blog here: http://bit.ly/KKI4En.

Relationship mastery – The basis of relationship mastery is the foundation for superior interpersonal skills. How these elements align to leadership excellence is explored in this Smart Brief Blog on Leadership. Read it here: http://bit.ly/LvSBS2.

Time hacks for managers – Getting straight to the point. Read this to save more of your precious time: http://cbsn.ws/Mj9oZs.

Productivity booster – MyGreenlighters are constantly asking for productivity advice. Try this system for managing the interruptions that throw productivity off course. View author and productivity expert David Allen’s strategy here: http://cbsn.ws/L6269l.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

Don’t Start A Business Without Answering These Questions

A Forbes writer recently developed 23 questions to isolate “the fundamental reasons for success and failure” for anyone “trying to make money, create a job, or get a better one.” The focus, however, really seems to be on what it takes to start your own business.

Five of the 23 are questions focused on relationships and your network:

  1. Who is my role model?
  2. Do I have the right people?
  3. Am I outsourcing the right tasks?
  4. Do I have the right customers?
  5. Do I have a good lawyer?

I especially liked the author’s comment about the importance of having the right people in your corner: “Having the right people also includes cultivating outside advisors whose opinions you respect and who aren’t afraid to share them—assuming you’ll listen.” Straight out of the myGreenlight playbook.

What questions would be on your “must answer” list for an entrepreneur about to take the leap?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

The Road to Good Relationships Is Paved with Communication

From a young age, we are taught that we can’t always share what’s on our mind. “Don’t tell her that. Say that she looks fine. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Developing the tact to avoid the awkward usually helps avoid petty fights, and saves feelings.

As we get older, the necessity of this filter seems to become more and more ingrained. We find ourselves confronted with the question again and again. “Should I tell the truth?” By no means is there one correct answer to this question that applies to all occasions, but there are times when sharing your deepest thoughts, fears, and dreams can definitely be the right answer.

An HBR article from last week explores this idea, For People to Trust You, Reveal Your Intentions. The author challenges the reader to find our greatest fears, and in turn our greatest obstacles. “Intentions are how we distinguish a villain from someone whose influence we accept, whom we move toward,” he writes. “Competence may be appealing, but intentions are what attract or repel us and foster trust or mistrust.” Continue reading

Heidi Roizen’s Top Tip for Getting Emails Answered

This week’s Social Capitalist Tip is from Heidi Roizen, the venture capitalist and Stanford professor who is known as Silicon Valley’s most legendary networker. She is also the subject of a Harvard Business Review case study. During the interview, Tahl Raz asked Heidi about the key takeaways from that case.

Heidi said:

“If you want to boil this case down to one fundamental takeaway, it’s this: Don’t approach someone because you want something from them. Approach someone because you have something to offer.

Now there’s no reason that this can’t be a win-win for you as well. But think in terms of what value you’ll be bringing to other people. Ultimately, that’s why they’re going to continue to connect with you. It’s why they’re going to answer your phone calls and your emails and your whatever. They’ll see you as someone who can be helpful to them. I think that’s a very easy thing to learn, and it’s a very easy thing to test and to check as you go and carry out your life. When you intend to form a relationship with someone, the first thing you should think is, What value am I to them?”

Read a full transcript of the interview with Heidi, filled with other great tips and insights, by clicking here.

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

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.