"Number 01 Leadership Lesson I Learnt from My Wife" said Mr. Chris Gaborit
Some people might think that wives are people that we don’t like to learn from or admit learning from but I have learned more from my adorable wife than any other persons in my life, and when you marry a Human Resources Director from a Fortune 500 companies who worked with Eric Schmidt, it's hard not to learn something.
Many of us can succeed to a certain level in life with a few connections and a small network; however, to get to the peak of our performance, we need to build bridges not burn them.
I must admit that I was guilty of burning bridges in my younger years. When I felt that people were wrong, I would tell them, even if it meant that we would never be able to speak to each other again. Unfortunately, such an attitude led to doors being shut and relationships ending.
At the age of 40, my wife shared a revelation with me that she had lived by, but that I had not: “Never burn your bridges.” I immediately realized that I had not been practicing what I was preaching. My network was small and my bridges were burning.
With a renewed purpose and a new company to develop, I set about building bridges with as many people as I could. I can honestly say that my companies have grown largely as a result of the relationships that were created through this process. Today our clients are more like friends and family than customers.
These are the keys I have learnt to building bridges.
The first key was I needed to find people to connect with and a vehicle to connect. I chose emails, LinkedIn, and then Twitter to build a network of close and loose ties. Some people on LinkedIn only want close ties and will not connect with everyone. I have taken the approach that it's often the loose ties that are the most important in life, so I have connected with anyone and everyone. At this moment, I have 18,500 connections and 25,000 followers on LinkedIn.
It’s not enough to be connected to thousands of people without some communication. I have different levels of relationships. I have a small group I consider close friends and acquaintances, and I communicate on a personal level regularly, having time for coffee and getting to know them and their needs more. Then I have a larger group whom I am building a relationship with and getting to know more through email, phone calls, and personal messages on social media. Lastly, there are the multitude, who are thousands, and I communicate with these people via Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and email. Regularly, people from the outer groups move into the inner groups, which is my plan.
For people to whom I am connected to be more than a number, I need to commit to them, but how do I commit to so many people? I find that commitment comes from giving, so I have learnt to be a giver. In my case, I can give knowledge, training, e-books, and assessments. These are things that can assist them to become better than their peers and get ahead.
Caring is where you can build closer relationships with others. If people reach out to me, then I want to reply and assist where I can. Are they looking for a new role or trying to find a marketing key to build their businesses? Can I read their book and help them promote it, or can I be a listening ear when they are struggling? One of my posts had 300,000 read it and 1000 comments. I tried to write and thank each person who took the time to comment. I wanted to care a little for them. Caring is important to getting to know people and truly connecting with them.
We all want something. The problem is that, in a world where we all are taking, there is a vacuum of those giving. By learning to build bridges, give to others, listen, and learn what they need, you will build bridges. It may not be that these close ties will lead to more business and success, but I can guarantee that eventually what you sow you will reap, and it may be that your loose ties will open doors of opportunity to you.
-Chris Gaborit is a serial entrepreneur who has built three successful companies without seed funding. For most of his life, Chris has traveled the world inspiring ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things. He believes that within every person is a destiny and calling that can be realized, released, and remarkable. He is cofounder of The Learning Factor, an outsource training company that delivers leadership training to Fortune 500 companies globally. Chris regularly writes for The Sydney Morning Herald, LinkedIn, and FastCompany. Find him on Twitter andLinkedIn.