By Jas Singh
About three years ago, one of my clients reached out to me for a favour.
He was actually about to move company himself and was close to accepting a role as EVP Sales at a global software company. He’d been introduced to this company himself, through a contact and him and the CEO had fallen in love fast.
However the company he was going to work for was in some ways a competitor. Not a direct, fierce competitor but nevertheless there was some overlap. And his non-compete was pretty stringent. He’d sent it to his lawyer who had given him some advice but who didn’t really know that market well to give a comprehensive opinion.
He was wondering whether I could help.
I offered to connect him with a contact I knew in this space. He was actually now a good friend – someone who lives local to me and who knew that particular sector very well. In fact, they actually ended up meeting for a quick lunch to go over the major points of the contract and my lawyer friend gave him the advice and necessary actions he should out to take.
All over a pint and a pie in our local village pub. No fees, no formalities. Just a good old fashioned favour.
My client was immensely grateful and ended up taking that job. At the time, I didn’t think I has done anything special – just connect two people I trusted and liked. Took me 2 minutes. But the consequences of that one simple intro I could never have imagined.
Since that day, my client has hired over fifty people through me – before I was one of his preferred recruiters, now I am the only exclusive one. What’s more, he has introduced me to countless of new clients – he has over 25 years of deep relationships and I get at least 1-2 introductions a week many of which have resulted in some of the best clients our company has ever had.
Looking closely at some of the greatest leaders I have had the privilege to work with I’ve noticed that this is a common trait.
Great leaders are big givers and make introductions whenever they can.
Here are some reasons why great leaders open doors for others.
It’s another form of giving
Leadership is giving.
Not just giving directly and having control over the other person. But also giving indirectly – helping others out with no recognition, no influence or no motive.
People often see making introductions as a high risk process. We could connect our two friends on a date, but what happens if they fall out? We could introduce our two clients for this particular opportunity but what happens if they then don’t need me? We could introduce our colleague to this particular educational course, but what happens if they out-do us?
All these motives are selfish. It looks at the situation from only one central point – our own.
But great leaders are different. They exist first and foremost to give. They put others first.
They connect and open doors as much as they can.
It creates reciprocation
The best thing about helping others, is that when you do it always comes back – usually ten times multiplied.
The law of reciprocity is one of the best things ever invented by the universe.
From personal experience – through my direct work and through viewing others – I can say with confidence that making introductions for other people always comes back with interest.
Provided (and this is the hard part) the introductions are made genuinely with no self-interest and motive.
Making introductions becomes a powerful habit – the more regularly you make useful introductions for others, the more you will enjoy doing it. And the more people will introduce you.
Great leaders receive more by giving first.
It allows you to create new opportunities
The best ideas of all time often come when different groups of exisiting ideas, people or technologies combine in new and original ways.
When social networks met technology. When marketing met consumer goods. When Wozniak met Jobs.
One of the most powerful, understated and perhaps even fun benefits of making introductions is that allows you to identify combinations that may have never been considered before. In other words, almost immediately adding instant value more than just the value of the introduction itself.
Know a great web designer and a great digital marketer? Could be a great opportunity to start a new business.
Know a great company and also a PR firm looking to invest? Could be a great growth opportunity for both parties.
Great leaders use their imagination to make introductions and open doors that create new opportunities.
Connecting others is often seen by most people as a risk.
What’s in it for me? What if things go wrong? And worst of all; what if they don’t need me anymore?
But great leaders realise there is more than enough to go around.
Hiring managers can gain much from hiring those people who genuinely enjoy making high value introductions whenever they can.
It will always come back many times multiplied.
Do you open doors for others?
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