Friday, February 12, 2010

Who's Got Your Back, by Keith Ferrazzi

Who's Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success--and Won't Let You FailAbout ten years ago, there was a movement in Christian circles for men to have accountability partners or groups. I think it grew out of the Promise Keepers conferences, and it was a good idea. Men were supposed to meet on a regular basis with other men, with whom they could share their struggles and weaknesses, be encouraged and advised, and have other men to pray for them. This isn't something that comes naturally for guys, you know.


Anyway, in his latest book, Ferrazzi has taken this concept and extended it into the business world, after filing off some of the religious trappings associated with the earlier movement. He suggests that we all gather around us some top-notch people who can be open and honest with us, to help us become better in our careers. There's a nod or two here and there to doing the same thing in other aspects of our lives, but the target audience is Ferrazzi's business leader readers, so most of the advice is on that area.

Ferrazzi advocates establishing "lifeline" relationships - someone who will not let you fail. There are four mindsets he believes we must master in order to build these lifeline relationships - Generosity, Vulnerability, Candor and Accountability. Of course, these traits are essential to developing strong relationships in any area of our lives, but in this book, Ferrazzi gives a lot of examples from his work with clients applying them to the business world.

The idea of having a strong group of advisors can be traced at least as far back as Solomon, who wrote "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed." The trick, in the traditional business world as Ferrazzi sees it, is that it's much easier to gather a group of sycophants who will tell you what you want to hear than it is to find honest men who will tell you what you need to know, instead.

I think the most difficult portions of this process are identifying people whom you respect for their business acumen who are willing to enter an accountability relationship with you and, once you've begun such a relationship, to maintain the regular meeting process over the long haul to make the system work well. I was a member of a small accountability group that met for coffee for almost fourteen years (we formed before the movement began), and it's one of the few accountability groups I ever heard of that lasted that long. It was also in some sense a very narrowly focused group, we weren't trying to do anything other than support each other in our family lives and spiritual battles. We weren't trying to build a big successful business. I've found it difficult to achieve any long term success in regularly meeting with any other set of friends or acquaintances; the closest I've come is playing racquetball with the same partner for a year or so.

A great read for folks looking for a new slant on business, but without hiring Ferrazzi/Greenlight to consult for your company, perhaps a bit difficult to implement. Maybe this is mostly about marketing Keith's company in a backdoor sort of way.

Who's Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success--and Won't Let You Fail

1 comment:

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