I just got off the phone with a gentleman who asked my procedure for assisting him in the culture development of his company. I shared with him, first and foremost, the CEO or General Manager had to be open to visiting with me personally. So often in today’s high-tech world we make the mistake of trying to establish our business relationships over email or text rather than with one-on-one, face-to-face meetings. In order to understand my thoughts and strategies, he or she also needs to discover the spirit in which I deliver them. Too much valuable time can be lost in trying to effectively communicate electronically. This is why I say, “You can’t correct until you connect.” If you wish to be successful with people, especially if you intend to add value to an existing culture, you must connect with the head of that company.
So many outside consultants today wish to ride in on the proverbial white horse and begin telling the management team and their employees what must be done. This is a losing strategy; this is instruction without connection. Instead, take time to “slow down and sit down” with those you are training. If you have the influential position of teaching or training, the most valuable key is taking time to connect with those you will be correcting with your training.
I begin with the CEO, or the person who is in charge of the company, and extract information by listening to his or her concerns and the desired outcome expected from my training. This one meeting is important to turning a culture around and getting everyone on the same page. I have to be in sync with the CEO, and vice versa, if the company is going to make gains from my training. After spending a reasonable amount of time with the CEO or GM, it will become quite apparent if the environment is ripe to proceed. If I find our conversation awkward or if I feel he or she lacks the confidence to move forward, I will immediately disconnect. As a person who is being retained, the foundational key is the type of relationship that can be established. The client has to be “all in” on my training, or there is no value in this business partnership.
If the connection is good, and we both feel comfortable moving forward, my next step is to go through the same process with each of the upper management team, meeting one on one and connecting on a relational level. This allows them to be open to what I will be teaching. The process takes time, but it must be done if you wish to receive a total “buy-in.” I want management to know me, and more importantly, I want to know them on a deeper level in order to extract insight that will help with the development of our venture. And I work with this team so they may duplicate our strategies throughout the organization.
This idea of “connecting before correcting” is one that will add significant value in all areas of your life. Whether it is with your children, mate, or fellow employees, this principle will strengthen the bond toward those around you. Whether you want to add profits to your company, growth to a church, or expansion to a leadership team, the speed in which you develop a strong relationship with those you wish to train is the speed in which you’ll see effective change. Remind yourself, you must always “connect before you correct” and the change you are working to create will become much easier.