Without mutual respect and trust, “communication” is BLAH BLAH BLAH
Two of the greatest (of many) benefits of the World Wide Web originally envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee are that those who are connected with it can then connect with anyone or anything else also online, anywhere, anytime…and then when the connection is made, interact with each other.
As in all of John Maxell’s several dozen other books, he provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel in this one that will help his reader to communicate more effectively by connecting more extensively. Specifically, Maxwell explains how becoming a Connector will help to achieve strategic objectives that include these:
o Enhance visibility and increase influence
o Serve the best interests of others as well as those of one’s society
o “Talk the talk”…and then walk it
o Renew energy sources
o Master skills to complement natural talent
o Locate common ground, mutual interests, and shared values
o Follow Albert Einstein’s admonition, “Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler”
o Create shared experience that everyone enjoys
o Inspire others
o Ensure alignment of affirmations with actions
As I began to read this book, I was reminded of passages in Maribeth Kuzmeski’s The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life. The examples she cites indicate that almost anyone can establish and then sustain mutually beneficial relationships within and beyond the workplace. She asserts that “true connections” between and among people must be made and then sustained with feeling and purpose and honesty. Bill George would invoke the term “authentic,” insisting that it is imperative to be true to one’s self (to one’s True North) as well as to others.
These comments who wholly consistent with the observations and values that Maxwell shares in his book as he explains the defining characteristics of High, Average, and Low Achievers before shifting his attention to explaining how to connect with people at all levels, connect one-on-one, and connect with an audience. He devotes Part II (Chapters 6-10) to explaining in detail how to become a Connector and then, hopefully, help others to complete the same process.
Again, I want to stress how much importance Maxwell places on personal integrity. Some of the most despicable leaders throughout history were – at least for a time – highly effective Connectors. They attracted huge numbers of followers who were enthralled by their charm (i.e. “charisma”) and presence as well as by their eloquence.
The leadership that John Maxwell advocates does not preclude any of these qualities. Indeed, Jesus of Nazareth, Abraham Lincoln, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. possessed them. However, Maxwell insists that the values great leaders affirm are the same that determine their behavior, that they are committed to what Robert Greenleaf once characterized as “servant leadership.” Principled behavior always communicates more and more effectively than words do.