That’s a question many are asking themselves these days. We all know the right relationships can make all the difference but how do we develop them? Keith Ferrazzi has made it his mission to help.
Having mastered the art of networking and shared his vision in his blockbuster business book, Never Eat Alone, and speeches around the globe Keith is moving deeper down the relationship path. His latest bestseller is “WHO'S GOT YOUR BACK: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success – and Won’t Let You Fail”. Today we’re please to have Keith for a visit.
Can you tell us about how Never Eat Alone connects with Who’s Got Your Back?
Never Eat Alone was about how to create a broad circle of relationships without becoming a ‘networking jerk’ – by approaching people with authentic generosity.
Where NEA went wide, Who’s Got Your Back goes deep, focusing on a select few relationships with a certain level of connection that has a disproportionate effect on who you are, who you become, and what kind of life and success you create for yourself and your community. These are what I call “lifeline relationships” – an inner circle of deep, trusting friends and colleagues who will do everything imaginable so that you won’t fail. Who’s Got Your Back is a guide to learning how to apply the power of peer-to-peer support to your personal and professional development.
What have you learned about transitions and change?
That change isn’t easy – and in particular, sustaining change over time. But also that there’s an incredibly effective tool to do it that’s largely untapped in the day-to-day business setting. It is, however, at work all around us in high-powered executive forums and in behavioral change groups like Weight Watchers and 12 step programs. That tool is peer support, and I believe it’s essential not just in times of transition, but to encourage a cycle of constant learning and evolution in organizations and for individuals.
You talk about the idea of the three people who can change your life, can you share more?
Three people is where it all started for me – I tell the story in the book of how three people really pulled me out of my backside when I was spinning, professionally speaking, in the time immediately following the success of Never Eat Alone. But also, a peer group of three is big enough to keep itself going, even if the motivation of any one person flags. At the same time, it’s not so many people that the work to develop the relationships is overwhelming. Three could be considered a starting place – over time I hope we have many, many more lifelines than that.
How do you find them, how do you know if they're the right ones?
Potential lifelines are all around us. Of course there’s a filtering process, but it all starts with making a choice to recognize that you’re surrounded by insightful people who you could care about—and who could care about you. You just have to open yourself to the reality that they’re there to help. You know they’re the right ones when you’re able to explore the Four Mindsets together – Generosity, Vulnerability, Candor, and Accountability – in a dynamic and engaging way that pushes you forward.
How important is attitude and mindset?
Extremely. The foundation of deep relationships is recognizing that they are a CHOICE. Every day that goes by, you’re either choosing to deepen your relationships, or you’re not.
How can someone who’s either out of work or just plain fed up with their situation benefit fast?
Turning to a lifeline relationship (or someone close to them) that they trust and being vulnerable enough to ask them for support. First and foremost, that should include a solid dose of candor: What should I be doing to improve my situation? What behaviors do I need to change? There’s nothing better than caring feedback from someone you expect to change your trajectory quickly.
Who inspires you?
Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase. He turned the bank on a dime in the financial crisis and knows the value of relationships and of candor. He lets his employees tell him straight out when he has a dumb idea, and it’s that kind of leadership that makes for continuous growth in a company. Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, which has harnessed peer support to help millions of customers get healthier, inspired me enough to start Who’s Got Your Back with her story.
How do you stay smart?
I spend a solid week or two every year catching up on my reading. I also have a circle of brilliant, engaged people on my team who send me the most interesting articles, books, websites, etc that they come across.
What can we expect from Keith Ferrazzi in the days ahead?
More online activity than ever. I’ve finally gotten bitten by the Twitter bug and I’ve been ramping up my blog since the start of the book tour – keithferrazzi.com/blog. My company Ferrazzi Greenlight will soon be launching some exciting new initiatives, to give individuals powerful tools to accelerate relationship development for more success and joy across all their endeavors.
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