This year marks 25 years since I moved overseas. It was 1994, and although I was still fairly young in my career, my employer Procter & Gamble (“P&G”) had asked me to move to Warsaw, Poland where my mission was to help establish and grow leadership brands for the company in the newly opened Central European region. The Berlin wall had fallen only a few years before, so all eyes were focused on that critical part of the world.
I had been warned that living in Central Europe back then was going to be challenging (for perspective, part of my expat package was flying to Frankfurt so that I could buy canned goods, clothes, etc.). But I had no idea of the difficulties of one particular aspect of living there: How problematic – and expensive – it would be to connect with others. A phone call to my family in the U.S. cost me $4.50 USD per minute, and there was no spontaneity to business calls – they had to be scheduled days in advance so that the line could be put through by an operator.
Fast forward to 2019 and, as a human race, we are more connected today than ever in the history of the world. We live on a truly hyper-linked planet and, thanks to modern technology, those connections actually cost very little, or even nothing at all.
So, we are connected, for sure… But are we really connecting? And what is the impact of that on your brand as a leader? More importantly, what can you do about it? That’s the subject we’ll explore in this blog post.
One additional point worth sharing on the topic of connecting: Read below “A fascinating new way to connect with others at a much deeper level” for a surprising approach to relate to people. I only learned about this in the past 2+ years, and I’ve found it to be a true game-changer in terms of better understanding colleagues, bosses, direct reports, clients, and loved ones, too. I hope you will find it as amazing and impactful as I have.
Finally, I want to stay connected with you! In addition to remaining in touch via this newsletter, here are some ways we can connect via social media:
- Subscribe to my YouTube channel
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Connect with me on Instagram
- Connect with me on Facebook
- Connect with me on Twitter
Are you doing enough of “this” to build your inspiring leadership brand?
We are living in unprecedented times. We are more connected now than ever in the history of the world. In the last 20 years alone, our ability to link to people around the globe has exploded.
- Through the internet, we can text/chat, join groups, or email anyone in the world.
- Cellphones allow us to talk to anybody anywhere, no matter where we are.
- Social media allows us to stay completely up to date with what is happening with friends, family, college pals, and colleagues.
- Not only can I stay in touch, but where I used to pay $4.50 USD per minute to make a phone call from Poland back to my native U.S., smartphones now make it simple and accessible to connect with anyone – even for free – and use video while I’m at it. That would have been unimaginable not all that long ago.
So, it really is miraculous how modern technology allows us to be connected, isn’t it? But, in the process of all this … how much are we really connecting?
I was shadowing a meeting at a client site a few months ago. Seated at the back of the conference room, I couldn’t help but notice that, when participants of the meeting showed up early, instead of using a few minutes to talk with their colleagues, everyone was checking emails on their phone or texting – no one spoke to each other directly. I see this in our personal lives, too. Recently while out at dinner, there was a family of four (mother, father, son and daughter) sitting at a table not too far away. The parents were both scrolling through their phones and the two children were playing games on their iPads. Not a word was being said to each other.
I’m not judging here – I’m simply observing – and honestly, I’ve found myself doing this on occasion, as well. (Maybe you, too?) As a result, when clients ask me for advice on how to build a more inspiring leadership brand for themselves, I encourage them to return to the fundamentals and focus on making authentic connections with others.
To bring this topic to light, I developed a series of videos sharing some powerful coaching tools to help YOU™ connect better and become a more inspiring leader – whether you are leading yourself or others. I’ll be adding more videos to this series over time but, for now, the first few videos cover the topics of:
- Get Clear on Your Current Leadership Brand: The Leadership Brand Triangle
- Gain Control of Your Life through Smarter Delegation: Delegation Styles Model
- Achieve the Right Balance for Successful Leadership: The Inspiring Leader’s Ratio Kit
- Make better connections with anyone, anywhere: The Power of Face Reading
A fascinating new way to connect with others at a much deeper level
There is one tool in particular that I share in this series that deserves a special shout-out. I only discovered this myself a little over two years ago, but it has helped me to build instant and more authentic connections. It’s surprising, unusual, yet incredibly powerful – and it’s written on your face.
To find out more, watch this video:
The rest of the story…
To cap off my experience of working in Poland, I ended up living there five years in total, and to say I gained a lot during that time would be a major understatement (I also met my husband there, a fellow American who was also working in Warsaw at that time.) But one of the key learnings I took away was the importance of staying connected – truly, genuinely, authentically connected. It’s a message that applies to our world today and that will likely continue to apply to our world in the future as well.
What will you do in the coming month to foster deeper connections? I look forward to hearing about it.