So what determines a quality connection?
As individuals we have 3 critical connectors. As business leaders we have 3 platforms on which to connect effectively for sound business structuring and growth.
What are the 3 connectors?
Think of a plug point that has 3 prongs. Individually we also have 3 “prongs” or connectors with which to connect to where we might fit personally and professionally. The distinctive shape of our 3 prongs will determine our “fit” with other people, businesses, interests and hobbies…or not.
The first prong is shaped by our wants. What we want individually and specifically will determine the exact shape of our connector prong in relation to the shapes of others. Influences on our wants that will shape the unique grooves on this prong include important aspects of our individuality such as our values, our ambitions and our ego.
The second prong is shaped by our strengths. We are more motivated and fulfilled by the things we try that align to our natural strengths, be they physical strengths or natural talents. The influences on the development of our strengths will be the extent of our awareness of them and how we have aligned them to our activities and to what we want.
The third and most significant prong, in my opinion, is shaped by our context. By context I mean who we are and how we are influenced by our gender, financial situation, training or education, expertise, what we do for a living and our family circumstance.
To continue the plug analogy, imagine that our opportunities were presented to us as a high wall of plug points and after some searching we find that our 3 prongs fit exactly at a certain level. Connected securely to this level we find we are consistently energized and literally buzzing with ideas. We make strategic and meaningful alliances, inspire huge productivity and take focused action. If, however, we try to fit ourselves in at higher or lower levels than our distinctively matching fit -we just don’t feel right. Here we experience feelings of isolation, anxiety, restlessness, listlessness and suffer “going through the motions” type of activities.
So wants, strengths and context are the 3 things with which we connect individually.
Now for the 3 platforms for successful business structuring:
- The first platform is to the nature of the business that we are in. If our business is aligned correctly to our wants, our strengths and our context we have every chance of succeeding. Note that I say, the nature of our business, not the type or category of business we are in. They mean different things to the entrepreneur. As an example, the nature of my own educational publishing business is one that requires a process including production, content development, product development, author alignment, sales strategies and delivery. The actual types of products in terms of mathematics or science textbooks are not as relevant to my connection to the business as the nature of the business. This is a good thing as I was extremely bad at these subjects at school! A salon owner who is a passionate hairstylist might be very connected to the type of business they own in terms of hair design, but might find him or herself largely disconnected to the nature of the business, which includes a high staff and client turnover and product management. As a business mentor I know that entrepreneurs who find themselves consistently struggling to run their businesses successfully (known as level (a) and (b) entrepreneurs in EnQ) are often just disconnected to the nature of their business and too connected to the type of product or service offered.
- The second platform is our why, for 3 reasons. Firstly, being securely connected to our “why” as the business leader provides us with essential entrepreneurial traits such as resilience, passion and drive. Secondly, our employees need to be connected to our “why” before they can really assist us with the “what” and “how”. Thirdly, our sales, marketing and customer service initiatives need to be about understanding how our clients might connect to our “why”. This idea is beautifully presented in the Simon Sinek tedtalk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE where he cites Apple as an example of the strength of the “why” connection.
- The third platform is strategic alliance. We just cannot build a successful organisation on our own and we need to ally with others in many different ways to achieve the growth we need to earn the returns that we seek. These alliances are not just with our long term business partners, employees and clients but also those who we might partner with for limited periods of time or on certain projects for mutual benefit. Strategic means that we have a very specific agenda behind the alliance and if we connect accurately on this platform these alliances can be very powerful.
As business leaders, if we understand connection, individually and collectively - we understand strategic alliances, motivation and productivity. These three factors will have an enormous influence on our business success.
Exciting news: The first series of EnQ Path of the Lion Webinars will commence at the end of May at times to fully accommodate our New Zealand, Australian and South African EnQ Lion followers. We will notify you as soon as the registrations open.