In my experience as a leadership development expert, I have found the single skill, when used correctly, that stands above all others to solidify a foundation for success. In fact, I even put together a book about it. That one skill is connection.
Knowing Is Not Enough
The Association for Talent Development (Formerly ASTD), estimates U.S. organizations spent approximately $164.2 billion on employee learning in 2012. Of this total direct learning expenditure, 61 percent ($100.2 billion) was spent internally. – 2013 State of the Industry Report, ASTD.orgOrganizations want their people to be EFFECTIVE in their roles, produce MEASURABLE RESULTS, and create SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES. For one to acquire the skills necessary to accomplish these objectives, there have historically been two basic tracks:
- On The Job Training (OJT) “I had to figure this out on my own, so can you!” Or,
- Send Them To A Class “I don’t have time to teach you, so I’m going to send you to a seminar/workshop/class/conference and let somebody ‘fix you’!”
The first option can be quite expensive, for reasons I will not fully get into today. Let’s just agree that a “let’s cross our fingers and hope” plan is kind of like hoping to win the lottery when you never actually purchase a ticket.
The second choice, as I have observed many, many times in practice, is effective at creating awareness of what people should do. The disconnect, however, lies in the all-to-often lack of a support system surrounding that person while they learn how to apply the techniques and practices from the training session(s) into their actual job on a consistent basis. Watching a “how-to” video on YouTube is much different than doing what it takes to achieve your desired outcome.
$164.2 Billion is a LOT OF MONEY to try to change people’s behavior. At “IdeaCharger”, we focus on ways to implement deliberate, impactful change for and maximize your Return on Investment (ROI) for your development dollars.
The third track, where I work with my clients, is to generate a natural, easy-to-implement plan with specific steps, practices and intent to easily turn the “what” into the “how” in a seamless manner and deliver measurable results.
Here’s your free IdeaCharger for the day:
Focus on the Connection
Social media is not the answer to all of the world’s problems. Yes, impactful movements have begun with a single “tweet”. Families and friends stay connected on “Facebook” (Here’s why I broke up with Facebook…sort of). LinkedIn, however, is interesting.
On the surface, LinkedIn is just a version of your resume’ or C.V. posted online for others to find. In a previous article, I discussed the value of going beyond that “hey, we went to high school together” connection of Facebook and how to turn it into something more meaningful (e.g. business). The what (creating a profile on LinkedIn) is the “easy part”. The magic lies in what you DO with your LinkedIn network. Today, I introduce you to the next critical step in building those connections
The Secret Sauce of LinkedIn in 5 Easy Steps
- Install “LinkedIn Connected” on your smart phone or tablet. (It’s in the App Store -at this writing I did not find it yet for Android, and,like LinkedIn-which you should also install, it is FREE.)
- Sign in to the app.
- Open the app every day. [The app will suggest people from your network with something noteable (job change, professional anniversary, birthday, etc…) about members of your network.
- Send individual notes to them (It’s simple, just click the link).
- Repeat tomorrow.
Watch Your Connections Deepen & Solidify Into Opportunities
The most seasoned salespeople never cold call. They focus on the connection. Contact your customers, clients, and members of your sphere of influence just to say ‘Hello!’. Better yet, take the online cues and send them a handwritten note, put it in an envelope and mail it to them. NOBODY ELSE, I will repeat, NOBODY ELSE IS DOING THAT ANYMORE, and it will set you apart.
You don’t always have to be “the guy/gal”, but you should ALWAYS be the first person that comes to their mind when they need to do some business. CONNECT!
What Other Ways to YOU Build Connections? Share your IdeaChargers in the Comments section below.