Keith Ferrazzi’s work on how people become successful is all about relationships. He’s written 4 books, which arc from person-to-person relationships and building a personal network to his latest in which he looks at the new world of work. Jeff Pfeffer praised his approach to networking in his new book on power. He’s joining me on Friday. Here’s an overview!
Never Eat Alone (2005)
This runaway best-selling book changed the way people think about networking. It also unpacked the path to success for many. The promise? If you use the concepts in the book, you’ll never have to eat alone!
Networking, described in the book, is the art of giving others what will help them achieve their goals. Keith’s early years spent working at a golf course taught him that there is almost always something you can do to create value for others – in his case, walking the course in the advance of the arrival of his wealthy employers to provide them with insight into how a ball would roll. The lesson there? Be prepared, ask questions and learn.
You need to invest in relationships before you expect to get anything out of them. Creating trust, building confidence and showing reliability all take time. People always need solid and trusting connections with other people. Keith suggests identifying three people that you’d like to get to know and investing half an hour regularly to do your research, prepare and pave the way for adding value, generously. The book also recommends some very structured ways of building your networks.
Relationships, he suggests, get stronger the more you use them. Both receiving help and asking for help strengthen the bonds. Spending time on small talk, rather than rushing to the matter at hand can deepen connections. As Keith says, “Success in life = The people you meet + what you create together.
For a behind-the-scenes look at what Keith calls “intimacy dinners” check this out.
Who’s Got Your Back? (2009)
This 2009 book suggests that one secret to success at work, and maybe in life, is to find a small group of inner circle confidantes and advisors Keith calls “lifeline relationships.” And surprisingly, after doing hundreds of interviews, he found that many people not only don’t have such a network but have no idea about how to go about creating one for themselves. The book recommends several ways to approach this. Begin by identifying people whose goals and values are like your own.
Next, what you’re looking for are those with the following four qualities:
- Generosity – they’re willing to show up for you and give of themselves (and you should be willing to do the same for them)
- Vulnerability – they should trust you enough that that you can develop mutual understanding
- Candor – they need to be truth-tellers, willing to give you feedback that might be hard to hear
- Accountability – they have high standards and expect to hold you to the same.
Having identified people with those qualities, engage with them in a mutually beneficial way, where you are both adding value for each other. Once you’ve got these relationships going, a very useful next step is to leverage them to clarify and focus on your goals. You’ll have to learn to “spar” as Keith puts it, because a good advisor asks tough questions and pushes you to define your conclusions. Finally, consider formalizing the relationships with regular meetings and other structures.
Leading without Authority (2020)
We’re doing work today with the work rules designed for a different time. That’s the core theme of this book. For one thing, in a world of complexity, fast change and stunning technological progress, it’s too much to expect a small group of people to bear all the burdens of leadership – figuring out what’s going on and telling people what to do. The answer is to spread leadership more broadly so that multiple talents can help the organization cope.
It’s the co-creation of outputs between different functions that will allow organizations to move fast enough to meet the expectations of customers, suppliers and ecosystem partners. The leader, therefore, is someone who has the capacity to bring out the best in all of those functions, not necessarily someone with formal authority.
After struggling with defining what that looked like, Keith developed a word he calls “co-elevation.” It refers to people who can inspire people with different skills and backgrounds to create unique solutions while enhancing their growth as individuals.
Servant leadership for the 2020’s!
Competing in the New World of Work (2022)
Since this is the one we’ll be talking about on Friday, I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll offer the chapter titles:
- Radical adaptability
- Collaborate through inclusion
- Lead through enterprise agile
- Promote team resilience
- Develop active foresight
- Future-proof your business model
- Build a lego block workforce
- Supercharge your purpose
It’s going to be fun!
Meanwhile, at Valize
We’re launching our fall cohort of learners for our Discovery Driven Planning / Creating Customer Insight program. In just 8 weeks, you can learn the fundamentals of creating product-market fit, that all-important starting point for value-creating innovation. There are 6 mini-courses included, plus 6 live office hour sessions with me. Find out more at this link.