Relationship Roundup

Communication skills take center stage this week. Learn how to make virtual technology work for you, take control of your communication style, and direct it in a more purposeful and intentional way.

Emails that spark action – Here’s some advice and tips from CBS MoneyWatch contributor Dave Johnson for cutting through email clutter and eliciting the response you intended. Read Dave’s advice here: http://cbsn.ws/L0fydo.

Emotional intelligence – Do you have the heart for leadership? Explore the importance of your emotional capacity and your effectiveness as a leader in this Inc. article. Read it here: http://bit.ly/KYd8KN.

Clear up your communication – You can communicate all you want, but if no one understands you, you’re wasting time and money. This Inc. article offers a self-assessment checklist and tips for clearing up your communication clutter. Read more here: http://bit.ly/KK6o6G.

Communication alignment – Elevating your communication skills elevates your relationship building skills. One of the fundamentals of transmitting clarity to others is to clarify our nonverbal and verbal cues. Read the CBS MoneyWatch article here: http://cbsn.ws/M9Zxae.

Don’t be a virtual violator – With so much of our daily interaction happening via technology, the rules of engagement have changed. Mashable offers the latest business rules for communicating virtually. Read the article here: http://on.mash.to/KYerJE.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

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

We Have a Winner!

We are pleased to announce the winner of our second scholarship contest. John Shelton has received a free one-year unlimited membership to myGreenlight. The prize (worth $699) includes unlimited access to all of myGreenlight’s resources.

John’s membership package includes all three of myGreenlight’s courses, three bonus courses, access to myGreenlight’s thought leadership series’ archived and live events, and access to the program’s alumni directory.

John’s entry submission was selected by myGreenlight’s Community Director, Kibibi Springs and Program Director Sara Grace because of his well-defined goal for the program. As a nonprofit manager for the Brewery Arts Center in Northern Nevada and a consultant for more than 30 years, John intends to use the program to help maintain his local non-profits’ donor base. He will apply the training towards strengthening critical relationships to the organization’s continued existence in the community it serves. Fully understanding the recent economic landscape and the shift in priorities for many towards self-preservation over altruism, he sees relationship building as an essential component for driving and managing the non-profits patrons and members.

“As the leader of this institution, I have to look beyond simply providing cultural services to the community and must work to find improved ways to connect personally with our citizens, creating partnerships that approach community problems collectively, and that build up all of us towards living and working in our community together,” says John.

MyGreenlight is happy to award this resource to John to use with his staff and board to serve a catalytic role in rejuvenating the community through cultural awareness and deeper relationships. We look forward to hearing John’s progress locally and how their successes can provide a model for the national nonprofit community.

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

Many of you are probably planning to take some time off in the next week or two. Much of that time is likely to be filled with family and celebrations. Think about taking some of your “free” time and spending it with friends and colleagues. Fit in some relationship building activities amidst the holiday bustle.

Your Mission:  Schedule some quality time with your contacts during the upcoming holiday weeks.

Here are 5 ideas:

  • Schedule coffee or lunch.
  • Share a walk or workout.
  • Throw an impromptu happy hour.
  • Volunteer at a local charity with a friend. Serve dinner, distribute gifts, be of service.
  • Invite someone to join you for last minute shopping OR to keep you company in the return lines.

The Five Best Quotes for Christmas Cards that Write Themselves

Throw a “best wishes for 2012” and a personal message on the end of these, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic holiday card. I love these quotes!

For the wise and present
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt (also attributed to Kung Fu Panda)

For the whimsical…
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

by gavdana

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

For those whose cup runneth over…
“All who joy would win must share it. Happiness was born a Twin.”
– Lord Byron

For the spiritual/poetic…
“Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
– Rumi

For the cynical humorist (best for a New Year’s card):
“Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.”
– Mark Twain

Sara Grace is myGreenlight’s Program Director.

Mini Mission Monday

‘Tis the season for acknowledging those who have helped you out during the year. Whether you celebrate the winter holidays or not, this is the time of year when service people look for a bit of gratitude for their work during the year. By being thoughtful and generous you can ensure that you go into the new year with stronger relationships with those who help keep your life in order.

Your Mission:

Make a list of the service people who should be acknowledged this season and choose appropriate gestures. The postal delivery person, your hair stylist, housekeeper, administrative assistant, etc. Think broadly – there are lots of people who would be surprised and delighted by a bit of seasonal cheer.

Your gifts do not have to be monetary or cost a lot – referrals and testimonials and heartfelt thanks don’t cost a cent, but can make a huge impact.

Relationship Roundup

Welcome back. Hope everyone had a great kick off to the official holiday season. In the roundup this week, some conventional and unconventional recommendations for taking advantage of the social season and upping the ante on the intimacy in your relationships.

Try a little forgiveness – Forgiveness can be very transforming for an individual.  Imagine what it can do for a company. In this HBR post, management consultant Terese Norton shares how forgiveness transformed a hotel staff’s perception of self to continue bringing value to their organization and its customers. http://bit.ly/ruDLrO

Nurture the relationships in your nest – While I normally wouldn’t highlight an advertisement as need to know information, the topic of developing internal employees certainly deserves some thought as we go into annual performance review time. Here’s what Booze Allen is sharing about the topic http://bit.ly/ukmvW4.

Release with respect – The unfortunate reality is that some of us may be faced with letting go of an employee in our future. Ending a relationship has some rules of its own. CBS Money Watch recommends 5 “Don’ts” for handling discharges.  Read it here http://bit.ly/sblUlo.

Before you Bail on Mail – The annual holiday card season offers the perfect opportunity to connect with family, friends and colleagues past and present.  Before you opt for the email version weigh the impact that your personal signature may have on the recipient.  Read what others are thinking about their holiday mailing decisions http://bit.ly/sshTwE.

Social solutions for the blind – Round of applause for Selene Chew, for considering the possibilities for improving the quality of life of the blind with the BlindSpot Cane — a clever and empathetic technological attempt to create new opportunities for social interaction for the visually impaired. Read the article here http://bit.ly/tY44Up.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Manager.

Yes, Successful Selling IS About Relationships

As the sales leader of a company that empowers both organizations and professionals to enhance their relational capital, my jaw dropped recently when I read the title of very interesting HBR Blog post: Selling Is Not About Relationships. Judging by how quickly the blog approached 200 comments, authors Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson clearly struck not just my nerve by challenging the role of relationship-building in successful selling.

However, upon review of the article we are a lot closer to agreement than the provocative headline would ever suggest.

Each week I speak with a handful of Sales VPs, as well as multiple C-Level executives across the Fortune 500.  A common denominator of those discussions is the importance of establishing meaningful connections both within an organization itself, and of course externally with influential professionals across an entire value chain – clients, prospects, suppliers. Whether analyzing a new-hire’s speed to efficacy during the onboarding process, long-term employee retention, or the quantifiable impact on a sales person’s job performance, one’s ability to establish meaningful relationships translates into success.

So what to make of this study? Having examined 100 companies and 6,000 reps, Dixon and Adamson conclude that every sales professional falls into one of five distinct profiles and is characterized by a specific set of skills and behaviors that highlights the rep’s primary mode of interacting with customers. Those falling into the Challenger category dominated the list of high performers while Relationship Builders came in last.

And it is right at this point that my position actually aligns with theirs. Relationship Builders as defined are those who “focus on developing strong personal and professional relationships and advocates across the customer organization.” While Challengers “use their deep understanding of their customers’ business to push their thinking and take control of the sales conversation. They’re not afraid to share even potentially controversial views…” Continue reading

Is There Value to “‘No Boys Allowed” Networking?

We have all heard the phrase “old boys’ network” and many of us have seen it in action. While the workforce has changed much over the past decades, this preconceived networking bias still impacts many professional women.

The good news is, woman have found workarounds via more structured networking opportunities than beer pong in the sports bar around the corner. (I don’t know about where you live, but you see a lot of that in New York…)

According to an LA Times article from earlier this year,  “Female business owners — who sometimes have to work around entrenched, old-boy networks in order to expand their businesses — have found networking events to be particularly valuable.” Carmen Rad, the president of her digital printing company says, “There is a tremendous advantage to joining, and you can’t just join one. You need to join more than one because each organization will have a different added value.”

Recently, women-only networking has re-surged, particularly in tech fields, in an effort to compensate for the potential gender setback. But not everyone sees this as a positive trend. Continue reading