5 ways to make stronger connections

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Business and personal success is all about making the right connections–new
colleagues, employees, customers, friends, and partners–and finding the
people who will lead you to new opportunities. But for many, it’s more about
volume than true connection.
We live in a world that is increasingly focused on making and managing
connections, and most of us have bought into this notion hook, line, and
sinker. As a result, we race to the next networking event where we hand out
as many business cards as we can, work overtime to add to our LinkedIn
contacts, and create semi-remarkable Twitter feeds in the hope of gaining a
massive following.
We don’t need or benefit from having a lot of superficial relationships, “And
most, if not all of our closest connections are people who are a lot like us. Of
course friends, relatives, and acquaintances are important, but in business
they can only get us so far. To reach our full potential we need to create
meaningful connections with a much broader palette of folks who see things
differently than we do, ask very different questions, imagine very different
possibilities, and challenge us to rethink the way we do the things that matter
most.”
Here are some ways for making stronger and influential connections:

  1. Acknowledge that you need to continually deliver greater value to
    customers. Also recognize that you don’t have all the answers. In fact, you
    probably have a relatively limited view of your business, its key challenges,
    and its real potential.
  2. Be honest about your biggest challenges and create a culture of
    curiosity and openness. Encourage your team to ask questions and to

regularly go beyond their own walls and knowledge for new and better
answers.

  1. Make time to search for new ideas and inspiration. Ask your employees
    and colleagues to leave the office periodically to visit organizations in different
    industries and are remarkable in some important way. Then seek to build new
    and meaningful connections with people in those organizations who know
    something important that you don’t know.
  2. The world is filled with genius that can be leveraged to improve your
    business. Visit science and history museums to discover important
    breakthroughs; go to art galleries and connect with artists to understand how
    they approach problems and opportunities; participate in the life of bustling
    neighborhoods to explore what it takes to create energy and enthusiasm;
    attend lectures on topics far afield from your work; and even go to
    performances to gain new insights on collaboration and innovation.
  3. Make a deliberate effort to connect with strangers from different walks
    of life and invite them to visit your company and share their ideas. Then
    challenge yourself and your colleagues to imagine how their thinking and
    perspectives might provide a new framework for looking at your world.
    We’ve all been taught to believe that it is who we know that matters, That’s
    simply too narrow a worldview. It’s who we could know that matters more. The
    future belongs to the most curious people on the planet–those who are willing
    to connect with, learn from, and collaborate with strangers.”

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