Today’s reading “Schmooze or Lose: How the Lost Art of Negotiation Led to a Shutdown” is from the pens of Jack and Suzy Welch and first appeared on LinkedIn. Jack Welch is Founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University and former CEO of General Electric. Suzy, his wife, is an author – 10-10-10 – and television commentator. Jointly, they have written columns for BusinessWeek, Fortune, and the New York Times syndicate among others.
This essay was written to express an opinion about the current dysfunction of our federal government. For our purposes, it brings home the importance of relationships – relationships are the currency of the realm. That is, the leadership realm.
The Welchs say it simply: “You have to schmooze.” They point out that you must schmooze early and often, well before you need the relationship. They note that building relationships is what you must do all the time. “It has to be a massive part of your job.” You just have to spend time walking around, having coffee, sitting and listening, getting real, letting people get real with you. You have to show who you are, what you care about, expose your hopes and dreams and values. And you have to ask people the same about themselves.
What does this work of building relationships accomplish? It builds trust and transparency!
The Welchs note that not only do you have to schmooze with your customers, your team, and your bosses. You also have to schooze with your known “adversaries.” These include those who oppose your strategies – that new project, the perennial naysayers.
They go on to say “if you don’t schmooze with friend and foe alike, as a leader, unpleasant or unwieldy inefficient as it may see, one day a crisis will come and, without thriving relationships and on-going dialogue, you will be shut down.”
You build relationships for the future. When you have a beef with Sam or Sam has a beef with you or one wants to influence the other, before then, you and Sam need to have seen each other smile, to have heard each other’s voice, and to have had serious conversations.
Well meaning people will inevitably have legitimate differences. The transparency and trust you build and now hold in common is what makes these differences negotiable.
So, make the building of relationships a regular, on-going part of your routine. And, if you are not doing it now, there’s no better time to start.
. . . . jim