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Posts Tagged ‘Who’s Got Your Back’

Keith is the author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back.  I met Keith in 2009 after I joined his Greenlight Community on ning to learn what it would take to launch a community online. Somehow, I ended up starting Greenlight city groups in 12 cities. As a result Keith invited me to speak at his Orlando book launch.

Mesmerized by his enthusiasm, I joined Keith’s Relationship Masters Academy (RMA), a live program in New York, last June 2009. It’s a year long training with 3 live weekend events in NY and monthly webinars in between.  At the RMA, we basically learn to be like Keith: a master of building relationships, intimate lifeline groups and broad networks.

After a year of RMA, I don’t think anyone of us can really be like Keith, nor do most of us really want to be. He works endless hours and sleeps about 4 hours per day.  Still Keith is an inspiration and RMA is basically the strategies and tactics of how he did it and does it. I’m maybe about 20% into mastering his RMA system. Already opportunities are coming to me. They are nothing compared to the joy of doing business and spending time with the people I want to be with – priceless!

I recently obtained permission from Keith to teach a lighter version of RMA to my OBA members.  When I say lighter, I mean not less of the secret sauce, but less intense and demanding on time. RMA live (what I went through) is intense and all consuming.  Most people would prefer his recently launched RMA program online because you work at your own pace.

If you want instant results go to RMA live!

One of our objectives in RMA live last year was to build a lifeline group from the people at the table Keith fixed us up with.  It was a gamble as we may not like each other.  I was fortunate.  My group still meets every other Wednesday since June 2009.  We’re building a team that promotes each others’ success and genuinely likes each other.  Napoleon Hill was right when he talked about the Mastermind concept – it works. As our lifeline group began to support each other’s goals, we all began to rise up to new and higher success. We began meeting our personal goals and receiving unexpected rewards from life.

I have benefited enormously form Keith’s friendship and his teaching.  I hope you find a friend like Keith in your life. I hope that you invest in you relationships like he does and taught us to.

Life is infinitely more fun, more blissful and rewarding when you can make friends first and business second. Have fun out there! 🙂

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Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and Whos’Got Your Back bestsellers, is a friend and mentor.  These are some of the principles I learned from Keith:

1. You can’t get there alone:

Funny how we forget this! I know at times I’ve forgotten how many people have helped me in my success. When I pause to think I realize how little I sometimes did. Some of my biggest successes, I was almost passive in comparison. It was literally handed to me by a friend, colleague or family. My part was living up to my commitments and earning intimacy in my relationships with them.

2.  Business Relationship are personal:

Keith is adamant that there is no “solely business” relationship. He distinguishes between an intimate relationship and a relationship that is not intimate.  Both are personal.  Taking the time to learn about a person’s problems, needs, interests, you become a part of their life and you earn their trust. We’re assuming you didn’t learn this by stalking them!

3.  Share passions and vulnerabilities:

Be transparent and share your passions and interests. Keith insists on being vulnerable with your clients and contacts. The principle of reciprocity is triggered and they feel more willing to share theirs.  Despite some fears of exposing weakness, Keith insists that it eliminates prejudgments. If you’re authentic they can still choose not to like you, but they will trust you.  We trust what is predictable, and an open person is predictable – even if rude.

My stepfather was brutally honest and many people did not like to be around him because he could insult them as easily as he could inspire them. Like him or not, they all trusted him and his friends were friends for life.

4.  Be Generous and Give – Don’t keep score.

“Intimacy comes from giving without keeping score.  Everyone knows when scores are being tallied and most don’t like it.” Keith also warns about the generosity of not allowing others to help you.

I see this playing itself out on the internet in a scale that is unprecedented: chronic spamming and broadcasting from a red ocean of marketers, all working on an ultra short sales cycle.  It’s a numbers game for them! Many people that started out with generosity give up too soon. They feel taken advantage of, and soon revert back to highly transactional behavior.  If you go back to number 1, my statement of passively receiving success was a direct result of not keeping score.

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In 5 years, we will care less about your professional specialty or education. We will care more about who are you playing with and who wants to play with you.

Right now it could not look more like the exact opposite. Try getting an interview today if your resume/cv does not match the exact description of the job. No chance to even meet anyone and try to explain what you can do for them or why you’re the best candidate.

A whole new paradigm is evolving at record pace parallel to the highly mechanistic one based upon past education and easily quantifiable work experiences. One based upon your abilities that are not yet easily quantifiable.  The best measures today are your social capital, or as I like saying, who wants to play with you?

In the latter paradigm, you have transcended locality and a mechanistic definition of yourself.  I am no longer the bilingual media lawyer from NBC Universal and Georgetown. I am Jorge Colon, and like that Verizon commercial, and my network!  But it’s even more than that: I’m Jorge Colon and the diverse experiences and  values of my lifetime and those of my network.

For now, many of us define our professional ability by our niche. That’s great.  But we know that we’re not one dimensional. It’s as if we must leave the totality of ourselves outside work. In some cases that may not be a bad thing either!  But we’re the sum total of all our experiences in our life.  We’re also the sum total of our access to all our network’s experiences, and those that want to collaborate with us. There is not an actual market for this experience today. It was actually considered a huge distraction from your highly mechanistic job performance.

Tomorrow, if you don’t have that collaborative network, if you can’t bring all your experiences and values to your work, you’re doomed to stay in the highly mechanistic world and definition of yourself. I say doomed not because you can’t make money or even enjoy that style of life, but that it’s a declining paradigm. You will find yourself struggling to merely survive and continue earning as computers and outsourcing perform better for less.

Let’s take the movie The Blind Side as an imperfect but dramatic example of a currency not easily quantifiable nor previously considered – but crucial.

The main character, Micahel Oher, now a Ravens offensive lineman, is quite large and exceptionally fast.  This alone gets him in the door for that position. Like a law degree and passing the bar. But it was another quality, that was identified when he was supposedly tested as a child, that determined he had extraordinary levels of protective instinct.  But how do you quantify that and how do you use that in a team? The movie tries to show that it is exactly the trait that made him incredibly valuable.  A player others want to play with because he will protect his team and his quarterback at emotional levels probably unavailable to equally large and fast players. On his team, you know he literally has your back – and he’s as fast as he is huge!

That’s the same argument I’m making about lawyers and professionals in 5 years.  You don’t need to be tested. You need to know yourself enough to know all your skills, values and share them openly.

Who are you playing with, and who wants to play with you?

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Monday, I received a call from a young man that has asked me to mentor him.  We’ll call him Carlos.  I met Carlos when I was helping my friend and mentor, Keith Ferrazzi, with the launch for his latest book, Who’s Got your Back? Keith’s first best seller was Never Eat Alone.  Carlos, about 28 years old, drove about 90 minutes with 10 people to Keith’s book launch.  We were all impressed with Carlos’ leadership and passion.

Carlos was in a hurry when he called me. He wanted to know if he could see me that same evening.  He did not really say why, but as I had accepted the responsibility to mentor him, I agreed to meet him.  I had a subtle sensation I was about to pitched, but I still wanted to give Carlos an opportunity to pitch. Last time we spoke he was working on an IT start-up in the Latin and Hispanic market.

When  Carlos arrived, with his friend Gus, I saw him all pumped up and excited, which is not unusual for Carlos as he has more energy than 99% of us.  His optimism and enthusiasm is truly engaging. It’s also why he has so many followers.  The conversation went nowhere and I sensed, as my wife says, I was being marinated like a juicy roast! J  I stayed relaxed knowing that how I responded to Carlos in front of his friend would define our friendship. I was now certain I was about to be pitched and it was looking like an MLM pitch.

Unable to wait for the pitch I firmly requested the purpose of the meeting – with a smile! J  It was an MLM!!  I knew that to reject Carlos would be more destructive and even more so in front of his friend, Gus.  I let him pitch me.

He was very excited because he had been brought in before the actual launch of the MLM and the directors were all major players in the MLM world.  He wanted to introduce me to one of the Directors.  Still very sensitive to the social situation, I knew I would have to sit through an MLM call.

I did try to stop the call from taking place, but Carlos was determined I meet this Director.  About 20 minutes later, thankfully, the call was over. Gus had observed my discomfort.  I told him I did not want to disappoint them, but that I was not interested in MLM and that they could have saved themselves time if they asked before driving to see me. But they argued, we just introduced you to the Director – a man who made millions…. You’re talking to a boss!

I sighed and said: “Carlos, I am excited about your new opportunity.  I think if you focus it can work beautifully for you and Gus. But I’m not interested in MLM.”

More persistence and this unique pitch from Carlos: “But Jorge you have a vast network of people who are very successful. That’s why we introduced you to the Director of this MLM.”

Jorge: “Thank you!  I am truly honored you think so highly of me.”

I paused and with conviction told them: “I don’t pitch my friends.”

Carlos and Gus were perplexed and totally confused, which they expressed almost in unison: “Then why do you have this network?  Why do you spend so much time building these relationships?”

I told him of an old friend from adolescence who is a successful lawyer and even appears on TV.  One day while I was at NBC, he stopped by and in the conversation he said this: “When you’re in private practice you don’t have friends, you have clients”.

Whilst I could not judge him, I felt the sadness in his voice – a subtle and almost imperceptible tone of regret and loneliness.  He billed everyone he invested anytime in and he was successful. This is not the path I took.

More perplexed looks followed by Carlos asking: “But how does this work for you?”

Because, I began, I am not desperate, nor am I in a short sales cycle.  I am building trust, credibility and friendship. Once you have trust, credibility and friendship, all business evolves naturally and abundantly – even with friends.

Trust is a rare, therefore valuable. It is not the same as reputation, which you can’t always control.  I carefully invest in relationships and now I have a priceless deposit of trust and credibility.

I know that many of us as lawyers and professionals have to close sales and some in a shorter cycle than others. I can only recommend that you seriously consider making friends and not burning through your contacts. That you invest in a relationship with generosity before you ask for anything.

We’re all inundated with fast pitches and spam from people we don’t know.  That’s what Keith Ferrazzi calls highly transactional: when a person makes no attempt to care, listen or engage you, but simply broadcasts or instantly pitches a service or product. I buy mostly from people I like and trust, even when it might be more expensive. Because I like them and I trust them!

They care.

Sometimes, there are those of us that prefer to take without giving in return. Most large networks are defined by a majority of people taking without giving or passively lurking, while teams and communities are defined by mutual generosity and active collaboration. Nonetheless, I reconsider before judging or rejecting the more passive or self-centered, and feeling that I was taken advantage of.  It has happened to me on many occasions, but it is the nature of finding treasure.

I’ll close with an excerpt from Emerson’s Essay on Compensation:

“Men suffer all their life long, under the foolish superstition that they can be cheated. But it is as impossible for a man to be cheated by any one but himself, as for a thing to be and not to be at the same time. There is a third silent party to all our bargains. The nature and soul of things takes on itself the guaranty of the fulfillment of every contract, so that honest service cannot come to loss. If you serve an ungrateful master, serve him the more. Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withholden, the better for you; for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this exchequer.”

My version: If you serve an ungrateful master, serve him the more….while you find a graceful exit!

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