Thursday, February 10, 2011

Personal Relevance

This is the 3rd installment of the Employee Purpose Perspective (EPP). What have we learned so far?

* Collaboration is better than competition
* One must have purposeful intent to discover a meaningful worklife

We have agreed to find purpose in a common cause. Now it's time to understand the extended relevance of this cause to our livelihood.

The worst advice I ever got was to keep my employees at arms length. I was told not to get too close to my team because it would make leading more difficult. That's hogwash.

I believe forging personal relationships beyond products and services is what turns a company into a culture. By simple premise, if I respect you as a person, I will respect you as a professional. It does not always work the other way.

The person who advised me to keep from engaging my team in my personal life was afraid. She thought revealing her true self made her vulnerable. If you dislike yourself you may assume others will you put up a facade. My contention is that by making ourselves personally available we cross the line from numbers to people and make it personal. Human connection is what makes good companies great.

Even the most strategic facade creators are always revealed. Anyone can put together a company, sign checks and produce profits. People come and go from companies, they stay in cultures of appreciation driven by leaders with Human Connection.

So Let's Get Personal!

I sat with a client a few months back. I advised him how to run his company, he nodded and appreciated the advice. After enduring my professional bravado he asked me where I lived. I told him and returned the question. For the next half hour he told me a story of his house burning down and the uncertainty of 2 hours away from his children after hearing of the fire. A humanizing story. I will never forget this man!

We walk in and out of buildings, file contracts, make copies, shake hands, smile and give advice. But, without getting to the center of people's being we cannot form lasting connections. Without lasting connections we commoditize our relationships. If our relationships are commodities they are easily replaced by the next thing with a smaller price tag.

Think about the best boss you ever had. My guess is that he/she was a better friend than an advisor. We learn from our mistakes, but we do not want to be consistently reminded of our inefficiencies. Think about the best customer you ever had. My guess is the personal connection was more important than products and services. You could probably speak in honest terms to this person when your product failed. If expertise is all you have, and your product fails, your credibility is shot.

Why are we afraid to admit we are fallible? Why are we surprised that we are easily replicable if we do not have personal connections. You are a person not a number. You have a unique presence that no training course or product knowledge can replace.

Your unique, differentiating skills are what make you indispensable. Why would you be afraid to reveal them.

If I know a man has no home to return to, I will strive to make his worklife easier!

Revealing your personality in your professional life is an element of personal security. If you think in opposite terms, you are a replicable commodity.

Make It Personal!

Don't Forget to Remember!


No comments:

Post a Comment