February 10, 2019

What’s love got to do with it?

The two-minute video ended.
So, I looked around the room.

And there were tears.
From men and women.
Unashamed, unabashed, tears.

One of those present wrote to me later, to express how comforting it was being in a room of non-judgemental people.
Which meant that they didn’t have to act a part.
Didn’t have to be ‘Professional’ (whatever that means).

They could be authentic.

That was Wednesday last week.

By Friday I was driving down to Chichester, to meet one of my favourite people in business.
Andrew Walsh. Former mentor and dear friend.

Andrew has held various senior roles, from Group Financial Director of a quoted PLC…
to Non-Exec Director of three European banks.

He can be tough, logical and driven when needed.
But he’s also unusually sensitive, insightful and compassionate.

As we stood outside Chichester Cathedral he told me of his closing remarks made at each of the series of Leadership Programmes that he delivers.

Having watched strutting, hard-bitten senior executives strip away their posturing and posing…
He observes board members’ reactions as those executives share episodes from their life stories.
Every time, tears flow.
Unashamed, unabashed tears.

Then he concludes with something quite ridiculous in British and European business circles.
He tells these tough, sometimes ruthless, men…
That he loves them.

LOVES them!

I said that to a client recently, after asking him some challenging questions, and giving him some blunt counsel.
You should have seen the beam that lit up his face!

I’ve studied the principle and components of Trust in some detail for more than 10 years.
In every piece of research I’ve digested… Being Open, Authentic, even Vulnerable (stopping the ‘professional’ role playing and acting) is an important element of developing trust.
And doing so rapidly.

It’s a constant factor in those reports.

I cringe when I hear comments – from bright, capable business leaders – like “I Don’t Do Touchy Feely.”!

What could be more important than TOUCHING another person’s life, so that they’re blessed by their engagement with you and your firm?
What could be more valuable than helping a client to FEEL that they are deeply understood and cared for, when in your presence?

“Stiff upper lip” and “Big boys don’t cry” speak more of emotional constipation than professional maturity in our business relationships.

When we learn how to lean more on our humanity… and less on our logic and science, facts and figures…
Relationships will deepen…
Trust will develop more rapidly and easily…
Our work will become more fulfilling…
Our smart, intuitive clients will willingly pay us more…

And we will enjoy a richness in our life that has evaded us before.