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 The Power of Connecting
July 2011
In This Issue
Reading Corner
Convenient E-Workshops
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 "Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static 'snapshots.'"

 ~Peter Senge, scientist and professor


"When we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection -- or compassionate action."
~Daniel Goleman, author and psychologist
Reading Corner

Marshall Goldsmith, author, professor, executive educator and coach, has this to say about Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments by Doug Conant and Mette Norgaard.

"Doug and Mette's premise is that we've clearly moved from the 'information age' to the 'interruption age.' I agree! We're barraged by emails, texts, and unscheduled conversations that seem to stand between us and getting the 'real work' done. Their book addresses this head-on. In fact, it is the first and best source I have seen that shows how to USE these moments rather than FIGHT them - to expand your influence and get more done."

Convenient E-Workshops to Build Skills & Knowledge

Looking for tips and pointers on how to prepare a get-you-noticed cover  letter? Uncover the Cover Letter teaches you how.


Making connections plays a big role in increasing one's sphere of influence. 
Connection and Influence  on 8.9.11 explains the push and pull styles coupled with a self-assessment so you can discover your default influence style.


Could your non-profit benefit from improved fund-raising? The Art of Big Fund Raising  helps you identify potential donors and use creative techniques for increasing donations and sponsorships.


Looking for insights for increasing your creativity? Tap Into Your Creativity on 8.17.11 offers 10 tips for boosting creativity and problem-solving. 

Quick Links

Start BIG (entrepreneur tips)

Braithwaite Innovation Group

Get Your BIG On (elearning)

Lead BIG (leadership tips)



Connected Ownership

     As leaders, we're immersed in metrics - perpetually measuring and evaluating business performance and looking for the next improvement. Yet one metric that gets scant attention in some organizations is employee engagement. A 2010 Gallup report finds that 71% of employees are disengaged, up 4% year-over-year. That's a disturbing number. Yet there's a simple, cost-effective solution for bolstering commitment: connecting.

     connection treeConnecting is good for individuals and for business. It's a little dated, yet back in the late 1990s, Sears discovered that a 5% increase in employee satisfaction produced a 1.3% positive bump in customer satisfaction, yielding a 0.5% increase in revenue growth. How? With leaders transcending "it's all about me" and instead building connections and relationships.

     All work gets done by and through people, so connecting with them should be high on a leader's priority list, right alongside strategizing, budgeting and planning the next acquisition. As Doug Conant and Mette Norgaard write in Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments: "Each of the many interactions you have during your day is an opportunity to establish high performance expectations, to infuse with greater clarity and more energy and to influence the course of events."

     Besides knowing one's own strengths and weaknesses, there are three constituencies where fostering real connections (not just clicking a "like" icon!) pays big dividends: One's own work team, others within the organization and the wider world.Try one (or more) of these five ways to build meaningful associations with these groups:

  1. Be honest with yourself and with others, and own up to your mistakes. We've all seen too many examples lately where leaders lie, cover up and then lose all credibility. Leadership development author John Baldoni offers a helpful nugget for handling these situations: "Demonstrate through words and passion that you have done what you think is best. At the same time, do not be defensive. Act with honest confidence, even when you admit mistakes."
  2. Be generous with your time. Don't get caught in the trap of thinking you're too busy to meet people for coffee, chat for a few minutes after a meeting or take in the occasional networking event. People want affiliation, so be the one who gives it to them.
  3. Take some advice from Tony Schwartz, president of the Energy Project, and view the world through "a reverse lens." Of course, we want to get the sales report to the boss as soon as we can; yet when a colleague drops in unexpectedly, think of it as an opportunity to engage and influence rather than as an interruption.
  4. Champion and/or adopt others' ideas. Being open-minded and practicing reciprocity belong on every leader's playlist. If you want people to play in your sandbox, you must play in theirs from time to time.
  5. Be an information and connection broker. Share information (what you can), introduce people, make recommendations, pass along the names of articles and books, etc. Being viewed as a subject matter expert or the "go-to" person for ideas boost both personal and professional connections.

closing the gapsMake it a practice to authentically connect with someone at least once a day. That way, you'll avoid becoming disconnected by focusing solely on task. Here's to your success in connecting! 

Lead BIG. Start BIG. Work BIG. Live BIG.

With warm regards and a smile,

Jane and Amy

Jane Perdue, CEO and Amy Diederich, President
Braithwaite Innovation Group | Get Your BIG On