From the CEO: The Connector
By Lisa Nichols, CEO
Learning to Give Back by Making A Connection
This week I caught up over coffee with my good friend, Dan at one of my favorite coffee shops in St. Louis, Kaldi’s (St. Louis is blessed with great coffee shops, Panera and Kaldi’s to name a few). Dan and I met on the elevator several years ago when I spoke for the Maritz’ Innovation Summit. I later found out that the meeting on the elevator was not by chance. Dan intentionally sought me out after the summit. We will touch on “intentionality” in another post.
Dan is what Bob Burg calls a “go-giver”. Go-givers are people that give first without expecting anything in return. They give because it is the right thing to do. Shortly after we met, he asked me how he could help us as we were trying to secure a contract at the time with Maritz. He connected me with several key people in the organization and continually promoted Technology Partners from the inside. We finally did secure that contract and continue to nurture that client to this day. Dan is in a new role now at a different company and we talked quite extensively around ideas to help him thrive in this new role, but Dan was also still asking me how he could help us. Wow!!! Dan embodies this quote from one of my favorite motivational authors and speakers, the late Zig Ziglar, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Dan credits this passion to one of his mentors, Jim. When he asked Jim what his best piece of advice in business is, Jim said, “If you send people business they will never forget it and they will send it back ten-fold.” Both Jim and Zig were touching on a deeper truth in us humans, the power of connecting.
One of my greatest joys in life, is being able to make connections for other people. This has given me the reputation around Technology Partners of being “The Connector.” I have jokingly said for years when people ask me if I know so-and-so, that, “I don’t know everyone, but I sure would like to!” While I’m still working on meeting everyone in the world (I have a few billion to go) I always try to make a great connection within the circle I do know.
You have your eye on that job? Well guess what, I know someone on the board and I would be happy to make that connection for you. You are looking for a second opinion for an aging parent? I know a leading doctor in that field that I am sure would be happy to speak with you and give you their assessment of the situation. You have a student who is considering a field of study and they are just trying to figure things out? I know someone in that field that would be happy to meet with your young person.
There are many different leadership styles in the world but Greg and I have always believed that “servant leadership” is the most effective and is the “right” leadership style for us. As a leader we should be concerned with helping those entrusted to us thrive, not the other way around. I believe that one of my callings was building relationships between others as a way of serving them, not me. This was modeled for the human race over 2000 years ago when another said, “I came to serve, not to be served.”
Whether it is one of your children, your spouse, an employee or a friend, one of the best questions that we can ask of another human being is this – “How can I help?”. As Zig said, if you live life this way, it will come back to you 10 fold.