Initiating high impact relationships
We didn’t trust the older generation when I was younger. We rebelled against them. We wanted to “stick it to the man.” Contrary to what you may think, today’s young men and women (20’s & 30’s) trust the older generation and respect their wisdom.
Seasoned leaders leave a legacy by intentionally reaching out to young leaders.
6 ways to initiate high impact relationships
#1 – Identify “targets.” Look for someone frustrated with frailties or failures that connect to ones you’ve overcome. Or, you could look for someone aiming for success in areas where you’ve succeeded.
#2 – Approach them humbly. Tell them you understand their dreams and identify with their frustration. Offer to buy them lunch. During lunch explain your own frailties in ways that connect with theirs. Then wait for them to open up. If they do, offer to share your personal path to success.
#3 – Back away quickly. If they are hesitant “run” for the door and find a hungry learner.
#4 – Pop the cork on pressure. You’re not promising success. You’re simply pouring experience from your cup to theirs. They take it from there.
#5 – Clearly identify outcomes. Connect with their vision and goals. If they don’t have vision, make creating vision the outcome.
#6 –Include structure. Establish guidelines, outcomes, limitations, responsibilities, and an ending point.
You might say, “Would you like to get together once a month for six months to hear how I learned to deal with anger in my life?” If yes, tell them you expect something in return. You expect them to listen, question, learn, and implement the wisdom you share.
If you are “younger,” how would you like to be approached?
If you are older, what suggestions can you offer for initiating high impact relationships with young leaders?
Thanks so much for this post. On Monday evening I started a Leadership Round Table. Seven guys I approached unknowingly using your points above. I have been in pastoral ministry for 35 years. All of these guys are younger than me (youngest being 25) and all having been in or still in pastoral ministry but one.
We started at 7:00 pm and the last one left at 11:00 pm. We are reading a book by Andy Stanley entitled “Visioneering.” I’ve taught through this book several times in seminaries overseas.
They kept thanking me over and over for something like this. We are going to meet once a month as well as me getting together with them once in between meetings on an individual basis.
Your post is a confirmation I’m on the right track.
Wow, thanks for a great comment that I’m sure will encourage others.
I’ve read Stanley’s book, loved it. If you liked Visioneering I think you’ll like Barna’s book “The Power of Vision.” I connected with Barna more than Stanley.
I’m going to send you an email. I hope you will keep us updated on your experiences.
Best to you,
Thank you for your encouraging words Dan. I just ordered Barna’s book so it should be on my Kindle momentarily. Can’t get enough reading on leadership.
I will keep you updated on how things go.
Once again thank you for your encouragement!
Dan, thanks for this mornings read. This is not only helpful for succession planning but to also bridge the generational gaps we are finding in many industries today.
I hadn’t thought about applying this to succession planning. Interesting idea, thanks!
Do you know of a book with good descriptions on types of meetings and how to prepare? I would like to help coach my team on the dynamics of meetings and what is expected of each person. I thought perhaps reading a book and discussing different categories would be a good way for the team to set guidelines and expectations for meetings. I would like our guidelines to include posture, who’s turn is it to talk, how to take notes – personal dynamics as well as how to assign tasks.
I am hoping to fit this approach into your 6 tips for high impact relationships.
Thanks for jumping into this conversation. I’m going to ask some friends to stop in and offer some suggestions. Lets see what happens.
Anna owns a cool business: http://www.discoverymachine.com/
One place to start on understanding how to run formal meetings is Roberts Rules of Order. These are the rules which govern parliamentary procedure and before you say “wow I hope my meetings never look like congress”, I’m not saying you should adopt them wholesale – it’s just a place to start for guidelines :). Roberts Rules cover meeting etiquette in general and provide a structure for how to run complex meetings. Here’s a great resource that describes them http://www.robertsrules.org/rulesintro.htm – the point of these rules is to make sure everyone is heard and that votes can be conducted in a fair manner.
At the other end of the spectrum (and there’s a chapter in my book about this) is the standard business meeting. I recommend that you should have an agenda, that each point on the agenda be “owned” by an individual, and that it be categorized as a discussion, decision or FYI (which helps keep things clear in terms of how your team approaches the process). I also like to use a tool to structure decisions called IROD (Issue, Results, Options, Decision) which frames the conversation. I can send you more information about that if you want to – just stop by the blog and leave me a comment so I have your email address.
You might also want to check out Death by Meeting which is a great book on how to make meetings effective.
Hope that helps!
Hi Anna, I haven’t read a book on meetings but from my experience of attending formal meetings as well as informal ones, here are my two senses:
# have an agenda for the meeting.
# you have to be aware of the place of conducting the meeting based on the nature. If its an informal meeting, would you go for a more relaxing setting or if its a business one, a professional set up. I think this will also help with the seating arrangements.
# there has to be a secretary or someone who is going to be taking
down the notes.
# also there has to be someone chairing the meeting who makes ensures that all the issues within the agenda are dealt with.
# try to have brochures or leaflets with details of the meeting so that the people who are with you can follow and not guess whats next on the agenda. This might help with people preparing questions in advance.
Hope this helps.
It’s not a book really, but I have found Toastmasters exceptionally valuable in setting up and running meetings. There is a lot more to Toastmasters than just the public speaking aspect.
I have two special pieces for you if you contact me through my website contact form at http://www.coachtrainlearn.com.
I think there are some important questions to ask.
1. ‘what do we want to achieve by having this meeting?’ – be clear on the outcome required, and set up the meeting agenda and the attendance to get it
2. ‘how much is this meeting going to cost in terms of opportunity time?’ – does the outcome justify the investment of time and attention of the attendees?
3. ‘do we need this meeting?’ – do we have all the material required to get the outcome we want? do we have all the people/authority we need to make decisions? can the outcome be achieved by other means?
If the answer to all these questions persuades you to meet, then: 1. begin the meeting with a statement of purpose
2. chair actively and wisely, involving all parties, and have someone else take the minutes
3. allocate times on the agenda for the consideration of items and stick to them as much as possible
4. bring discussions to concluding decisions and document the action required, the timeframe for it to be done and the persons responsible
And get rid of the chairs in the meeting room once in a while.
Stimulating post Dan. I would be interested in hearing more on peoples’ observations regarding the legacy piece? It seems the older we get, the more attuned to the legacy element we become.
Does that perspective go hand in hand as an accountability or even as a leadership obligation or pre-requisite to factor in ‘the legacy honor/debt’ leaders owe those in the next generations.
If we are given the opportunity to trailblaze (hey I live near Portland, OR, what can I say) on this journey for a period of time, perhaps there is (should be) an unwritten covenant that we are obliged to bring others along to lead when our time is done.
Maybe that is what has been missing in the finance and investment sectors, that the leaders see only for their own time and their own generation and chose not to grasp the continuity piece. (Some might suggest karma).
My other reaction to the post is that there may be many informal methods of initiating and engaging these high impact relationships. Seems like it would be a great research project for a grad student to analyze and define best practices if they aren’t already out there.
Your comment got my mind whirling! Thanks.
My gut reaction to “should there be an unwritten covenant that we are obliged to bring others along to lead when our time is done?” Is YES and I think it should be WRITTEN.
I wonder if the LF community might have individuals who could band together around a “leaving a legacy covenant?” I can envision growing group of Leadership Freaks committed to finishing well by leaving a legacy.
What is needed?
1. A covenant
2. Connections with those signing the covenant
3. Support – sharing stories, suggestions, lessons learned etc.
I’m going to mull over a LF post on the topic you bring up.
Lets see if throwing something against the wall sticks.
As always, thanks for bringing your perspective to the conversation.
My brain is spinning,
this brings to mind the Managers’ Oath promulgated by Harvard’s graduating MBAs last year.
The oath is a voluntary pledge for graduating MBAs to create value responsibly and ethically. The oath begins with the following premise and conclusion:
“As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can build alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term.”
I’ve found point #3 to be critical – a receptive audience is necessary to successful stewardship. I’ve also found that younger employees can be unreceptive, changing their tune over time – or be receptive in one capacity, but less so in another. Stewardship is based on shared interests and experiences not simply advice from on high. Timing is everything. I enjoy a good quotes. One I can identify with is below – think 25 and 40 instead of 14 and 21:
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
— Mark Twain
Love the quote it made me laugh out loud because its so true.
Thanks for adding value to the LF community.
Thanks for a great post, Dan. I love what you say (and how you say it) in #4: “You’re simply pouring experience from your cup to theirs.” How wise we would be if we approached each other that way (not just the younger generation).
This also models for the emerging leader his/her responsiblity to “give back” as he/she gets older (and wiser!).
Do you have personal experience with approaching a younger person with these points in mind?
Thanks for your thoughtful post!
Thanks for leaving your first comment and thanks for the good word. I appreciate it.
I do have experience approaching younger people for both short and longer term relationships where I pour my experience into theirs. I find even one conversation can make a huge difference in someone looking for direction. The flip side of this is that I have approached an older executive and been greatly helped by their willingness to be helpful.
The simplest approach is, let me buy you a cup of coffee. No suggestion of anything beyond that. You can assess as the shorter meeting progresses to decide if there is greater opportunity.
Best to you,
Hi Dan. I like the point that we have to approach them humbly and give them time to open up. How many times have we witnessed in a room when somebody walks in arrogantly and gazes start to run around the room or even outdoors when someone approaches the same way and people start to disappear in different directions. A humbling persona normally is the way to engaging someone in a genuine conversation which is normally rewarded by long lasting impacting relationships.
Great point. I know we have all been there and we are all “put off” by people who are full of themselves.
I appreciate your participation,
Peter blogs at: http://pewatac.com/blog/
another goody thanks. I like the covenant idea – awesome.
Picking up on Peter’s comments about humbly, I believe great leaders have a quality I term – “self-reflective humility”. I think it is in this SRH state that we are most attractive to (my ideal) future leaders/learners. Without SRH you are most likely to attract only those people who want to lead by brute strength and power (which i concede at times is needed). The idealist in me however desires leaders who are compassionate and strong, focussed and humble. I love how your framework supports this.
Great to have your comments. I appreciate the idea of SRH. Really well said!
I’m still mulling over the covenant idea and wonder if it has legs to run.
Richard’s site in New Zealand: http://www.croadworks.com/
in Australia, we call this ‘mentoring’. It happens throughout society, in business and in the community. Women are particularly good at it. I know many of us who mentor and are mentored and have been doing so for much of our lives. As a manager, the most rewarding aspect of my career has been to support the personal and professional growth of other people, to bask in the reflected glory of their achievements and contributions and to assist them to move on and up in their own careers.
I think we call it mentoring in the US also. My goal was to appeal to seasoned leaders to see that they can have “high impact” so I chose to avoid the term “mentoring.” I wanted to approach this topic in a new light and perhaps capture the imagination. Not sure if I got there.
I love how you’ve engaged in both sides of the mentoring process. Very cool. I wonder if your comment regarding women holds true in other places?
Thanks for your comment. I look forward to hearing more from you.
Dan, I’m a recent college graduate in an industry largely dominated by an older generation. I realize a lot of expertise and perspective is being lost as they are retiring, and I worry about how to bridge the gap as my friends and I are the rising edge of the next population bubble moving into the workplace. How can we make ourselves available to access this expertise and advice?
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