Author, Consultant, Executive Coach - Helping people and organizations grow into desired results

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Get yourself a Lifeline - highlights from "Who's Got Your Back"

In keeping with this week's focus on building strong relationships, I want to share some insights I've gained from Keith Ferrazzi's book Who's Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success--and Won't Let You Fail.

The book is a really useful reminder of how important it is to have key people in your life who are smart, will tell it to you straight and will hold you accountable. In it, Ferrazzi suggests that you set up a Personal Advisory committee (sort of like political leaders have their kitchen cabinets), one that is both reciprocal and that evolves as you develop personally and professionally.

My biggest takeaway from the book was the lesson that Ferrazzi himself learned in growing his consulting business: that I don't have to do it ALL myself. It's vital to enlist the help of trusted people to shape ideas and ensure projects actually happen.

So how do you connect with those trusted people to form what Ferrazzi calls a Lifeline Relationship? I like his suggestion to "practice the art of the long slow dinner" during which you chat and get clear that each of you:
  1. recognizes a need in your lives to change and achieve more
  2. is interested in working together as partners to help achieve your mutual goals
  3. is willing to put your needs on the table, for the good of the partnership
  4. recognizes the benefits of such a partnership
  5. is committed to honesty, rigour and self-reflection
  6. is willing to not let each other fail

Building Lifeline Relationships depends on Four Mindsets - which can be learned and practiced:

- sets the base: the end of isolation by cracking open a door to a trusting emotional environment, the kind that's necessary for creating relationships in which the following mindsets can flourish

Vulnerability - letting your guard down so mutual understanding can occur

Candour - the freedom to be totally honest with those in whom you confide so that you are able to share your hopes and fears

Accountability - following through on the promises you make to others (and yourself)

And how do you know when a Lifeline Relationship is unlikely to happen, or has passed its use-by date? Ask yourself:
  • Does the relationship feel unbalanced? Do you ever feel taken advantage of?
  • Do you find that your basic values and habits are misaligned?
  • Have you tried to practice the Four Mindsets to improve your relationship repeatedly, without success?
  • Does the other person simply nod his/her head instead of really listening to you?
  • Does the other person take your goals seriously? Does he/she forget to follow through on helping you toe the line?
  • Do you feel you would be stronger, happier, or more successful without this person in your life?
These handy guidelines may help you develop not only lifeline relationships with some trusted advisors but lifelong friends as well - which is great because in life, from time to time, we all need to know who's got our back.

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