As an employee, one of the best ways to grow your personal brand is to strengthen relationships with your organization’s key stakeholders and unexpected outside allies. Here are four methods to enable you to become a valued ally:
1. To prove you can actually be helpful to a customer or other key stakeholder to the firm – and thus a valued ally – adopt the Triangle Talk approach to connecting with others:
First, address one of their specific needs or interests, then cite exactly how you can support that interest, and then ask if they want to explore that solution further.
Sound obvious? Notice how rarely this “you first” approach is used in social media, advertising or other outreach. As Jay Baer proved in Youtility the companies that become top of mind are those that provide the most helpful tips, at the most helpful times via the most helpful medium.
Hint: Employees that adopt this approach become valued and sought-after inside and outside their firm.
Since the most prodigious givers appear at both extremes of the success continuum it pays to learn the behaviors for being a valued giver, gleaning ideas from Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take. http://www.adamgrant.net/give-and-take
Bonus benefit: Judith E. Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence, discovered that, “As we reciprocate, we build trust and relationships, flooding our brain with oxytocin that is essential not only to collaboration, but to innovation.” For employees and thus for the company, that approach can create a virtuous circle of wellbeing and high performance.
2. Be a deeply responsive listener, in person and online, who demonstrates you heard what they said, and does not immediately revert the conversation back to yourself. Instead seek to serve them their way, based on what they said, exhibiting The Golden Golden Rule, doing unto others as they would have done unto them. Offer a relevant, concrete scenario that explicitly shows how they will benefit by doing what you suggest. Craft what Peter Guber calls, in Tell to Win, a purposeful narrative where they see a role they want in the story you tell, reshaping it to make it their own to share with others.
3. Be so vivid that others are more likely to hear, remember and repeat what you say, using the A.I.R. method and other communicate-to-connect cues.
4. Provide actionable ways, at apt times, that others can use to gain reputable bragging rights when they take the action you advocate. For example, what visibility or value will your colleague or customer enjoy if she tells others about your way to improve the product or correct a service problem?
As Give and Take author Adam M. Grant discovered, “givers” appear at both ends of the success continuum, from the least successful to the most. To ensure that you are a valued giver, consider these simple steps to jumpstart your path toward being a trusted, well-known ambassador of your organization:
1. Identify five to eight of your most valuable current and prospective allies and or potentially key stakeholders where your expertise could be helpful to them.
2. Track them so you can vividly and specifically cite their actions that you admire in ways that are visible to the people who most matter to them.
3. Make it your top priority to be immediately and relevantly responsive to their questions, comments, offers or other communication.
These approaches will boost your reputation as a mutuality minded prospective ally.