Sat, 1 August 2015
This Episode’s Focus On Strengths
Jason Treu joined me to chat about using your natural talents to build better relationships at work. He gives lots of ideas for building real connections.
What You’ll Learn
Resource of the Episode
Check out Jason’s book Social Wealth when you’re ready to go deeper on these topics.
To subscribe and review, here are your links for listening in iTunes and Stitcher radio. Subscribing is a great way to never miss an episode – let the app notify you each week when the latest question gets published. You can also stream any episode live on the website. Just click through the title you like and there will be a player waiting for you on each page. See you there!
Read the full Conversation:
Lisa Cummings: Today you'll get some ideas on how to make career transitions and how to increase your success through the relationships you nurture and you'll get to do all of this with Jason Treu. So Jason is the author of a book called Social Wealth, and just like the title implies, the wealth part, it's not about the blinky kind of currency, it's about building extraordinary relationships and that's why it's social wealth. So Jason, thanks for joining.
Jason Treu: It will. Thanks for having me on. Lisa, in speaking to your fantastic tribe.
Lisa Cummings: They are fantastic and as you know, these fantastic people are all about exploring their strengths, how to find them, leverage them, and what it's like. What's your life is like when you do that. So let's give him just a little glimpse of your life before getting into your expertise. So think about your life and a peak experience or a peak moment where you can think about when you were in your relationship flow and can you tell us about what that was like for you?
Jason Treu: Well, before I found the job that I have now been in business and executive coach, I was working as a marketing executive and I noticed that when I was on the road and doing roadshows with my usually my CEO of the company, I was with, you know, I'd be on fire. I would just be so passionate because I'd be speaking to different people. We'd be evangelists to whether it's financial analysts or media or customers or whatever it is. And I just be loving it. And you're right. And that was when I was in my peak because connecting and belonging are my core emotions, are my top emotions. And so having that ability to connect and feel that belonging and be passionate about speaking and evangelizing with something that I really got me excited in my life.
Lisa Cummings: And I love that. You know, that the connecting and belonging matters for you. How did you find those values and how have you come to that to determine that those matter that much to you?
Jason Treu: Well, one of the things is finding your purpose, so people typically mixed up a mission statement with a purpose because they say to themselves, well, my purpose is to help entrepreneurs or help you know my clients do better work, or whatever it is, but that's something external to you and everything external to you will let you down. So if you have your purpose outside of yourself, what happens with people as they go through some precipitative crashes in their life? Because eventually when that purpose lets you down, whether it's something you've unconsciously made or consciously, you really go through some significant trauma. But if your purpose is inside you, you don't. And when you attach it to emotion and your top emotions and figure that out, life really opens up for you. And how you really do that as an exercise. You know, you go back and recall your earliest happiest memories in your life.
And from those you can extract your emotions that are in each of those memories. And then ask yourself what emotion would you rather feel and you can really uncover that. And what's really great about that is that although as you age, you will want your different experiences will be different. The structure and form of bad emotions will not. And so then when you can say to yourself, am I living my emotion? Am I living my purpose? And that's a little bit more than that, but that's really an easy way of taking a look at it for someone. So to see what they're doing. Because the problem for me in my job before was I was great when I was connecting and belonging, but I was, as I was going up the corporate ladder, I was sitting in my office more and more about myself and I was dissatisfied more and more so I realized at some point I connected the dots and realize well I'm better with people and I need to be with people all the time and not just part of the time.
Lisa Cummings: Yeah, and your hitting on a topic and getting into things like emotion. I love that you brought that up straight away here because a lot of people shy away from that and the corporate space and they're afraid to talk about it or use that word and I think that one thing that's important as, hey, there are a lot of emotions that go well beyond the hallmark kind of emotions. I mean you might go through that exercise and recount all of the times where you just felt jubilant because you were riding your bike faster than anyone else on your street or because you won a track meet or something like that and you can start tracing back those. And those are emotions too. So that's cool to hear that terminology in this context because a lot of people shy away from it.
Jason Treu: Yeah. And I think the great thing about it, I have a client of mine who's a CEO of a large company here in Dallas and he is extremely unemotional. His father was in the police force in Boston area and you know, they never showed emotion and I went through exercises like that earlier on with him and you know, probably like a month ago and then I working with about three months. He's like, I got to tell you a story, and I'm like, okay. And he was like, he told me he dropped off his daughter at summer camp and as he drove away, he cried for the first time in 25 years. Oh Wow. And he felt so good. And the ability, he said, the ability for him to actually open up to people, be more vulnerable, be authentic speak his truth and be generous, has transformed his ability to lead, manage and actually run his entire organization, which is a very large company. And I thought that, you know, that's a really critical thing because when you're not in touch with your emotions, you don't understand what drives you, you really become lost because you can't connect to other people. People don't buy facts and figures. They buy emotions and buying could mean anything, any part of the organization, right? It's everyone's selling something right and idea of thought or to a client partner or supplier, etc.
Lisa Cummings: Yeah, and let's talk about that part where you get into the other. So building relationships, it's great if you can feel your own emotions and also watch what other people are feeling because it's going to inform you about how your connection. So okay. One of your key principles I've heard you talk about is that your career potential, your success happens because of your relationships with other people. So give us a tip on making the brand-new connections and not feeling awkward about it.
Jason Treu: Right? So the building blocks of any relationships are rapport, likability, and trust and how you build a relationship quickly or you can take an existing relationship significantly farther is on the rapport side. You have to start tapping into people's emotions because emotions are what runs people. That's why they do everything that they do. So I find that people ask questions to other people that are just surface level questions. You know, where do you work, what are you doing or how's your weekend? And that's fine, but if you never get any farther than surface level, you will never really get to know a person and that's going to hurt you in your career because people make promotion decisions, they give you money, they do everything because they like you. And the more passionate they feel about you, the more they're going to advocate for you in anything that they do.
Jason Treu: So in an easy way to ask this, I've done this to strangers all the time, is I ask people, what are you passionate about? What projects are you working on that you're passionate about? And in fact, I did that a month ago to a woman. I was at a charity event and I asked her, you know, what's, what are you passionate about? And she told me she's passionate about, you know, cancer, charity events. And I was like, well gee, that's awesome. I am too. And my mom had leukemia and I told the story about how she almost died and etc. And you know, this woman just lit up. She didn't. She told me a story about her sister having breast cancer and literally in a couple of minutes later she was crying and I'm sitting there and I gave her a hug and she introduced me to her friends like, this is the greatest guy you got to meet him, and so we carried on a conversation and all that.
Jason Treu: My conversation between me and her was less than 10 minutes. Right? And then I created an emotional connection at that point that I could have done anything else. And in top of that, what you do then is you ask a person, well, what do you need any help with that? Are you having any challenges around that passion in your life? And then you can actually help people with the things they actually care about the most. And if you can do that, people will do anything for you, right? Because one, if you lead with giving, people know that you don't have a scorecard and the only people that don't have score cards with them are people in their inner circle. The closest people to them. And also there's a thing called the law of reciprocity. Meaning, people don't like to get things too far out of whack typically, so when someone gives the other person many times will at least give back in match that in that relationship and get back to even. So either way you can get pretty far and take relationships pretty quickly or take existing ones and really move them forward quickly.
Lisa Cummings: Yeah. So okay. There's a situation that I keep hearing happening with the audience and they will buy what you're saying and when it comes to their peers and where they get tripped up is with exec senior executives that they want to build a relationship with, but for some reason the hierarchy gets this thing all out of whack for them. So let's say because you mentioned promotional opportunity in there, so that’s what prompted me to think about this. I keep hearing at where suddenly people feel more awkward or they feel that the opener that they might be pushing. Strangely if they come in and they're trying to make emotional connections. So when somebody is approaching a senior executive, they don't yet know who would be in a promotional power kind of situation or even just an org chart kind of power situation in their company. What would you do if anything that's different or would you do it totally the same? Say you're nervous around that person. How do you work through that? What's your first step?
Jason Treu: I realized they're human beings too and they’re having a connection with me too. You need to understand that you have to learn about them. Right? And the business is not the only defining thing; their personal life really is and what their passions are. So I think a great thing is I ask people all the time is what did you do this weekend? What's on your agenda for the week? Right? Something like that. So I can try to find some things that they might really like, that I can find some common ground and build rapport quickly with them. Especially if I don't have very much time because at least you can build some quick rapport with that. The other thing that you can do is some more technique on mirroring and matching them, and that's a very powerful way because most communication is nonverbal, so you can, if you mirror how someone is, speaks, the tone of their voice, if it's high or low, if they're animated, not animated on the space in between them to make sure you have the proper space.
Jason Treu: If you can actually match their movements a little bit, you don't need to be like mirroring every possible thing, but the more that you can do, the more helpful it will be because people like people that are like themselves or the people that they want to be like. So you need to build that rapport on both sides of it, the verbal and nonverbal because then it's a way a quicker way to build a relationship that matters for them. Right? And how they see you in view and you because people make snap decisions really quickly. So you want to go in there and do that in plus most people are not really interested in the other person, right? Or they're trying to ask them business questions or they're trying to get it and they're trying to an angle and when you try to do that, the other person knows because again, most of communication is nonverbal so people know when you're trying to get something from them or you're trying to run your own agenda on them. I try to go into with a contribution mindset, like how can I help someone else and how can I get to know them? Right. And that is what I'm always acting like in everything that I do and everyone I meet.
Lisa Cummings: Yeah, I love those. And I like the weekend one because it's easy. It's repeatable. I mean, if you give someone that tip alone and they go ask five people that same question, then they have something also to follow up and take the conversation beyond later because you can say, hey, how'd your triathlon go that weekend? Or how was your son's play? And then it fuels future conversations as well. And then on the mirroring part, one of the simplest of all of those is the kind of the pace and the tone of that person. So that's an easy one. If it's too much mentally to handle having all sorts of things to watch, for just the pace of their conversation. Trying to match that and bring it up a level or down a level can really be helpful.
Jason Treu: The other thing to do too is that if you know, something I think often we don't do is trying to do that little bit extra. Like perhaps you find out when their birthday is and you know, you give them a card or perhaps that you decided to get a book and just buy a book and you know, write a little note saying, I thought you might like this book and you know what? You may not even know what they like, but if you go find a business book that you really enjoy, odds are that person will. And even if they never even read it, the fact that you were thoughtful and did something like that, you're immediately going to stand out because you know what, no one does that. I've talked to senior execs all over the place. I've asked them that question because I bring people books know, and I ask. So when's the last time someone's brought your book? Never,
Jason Treu: You know. And that's the question. That's almost always the answer. Never. Or it will be someone that they know really, really well. So if you're an organization you want to stand out, why would you not do something like that? Because it's a $10 investment in your future and it's an easy thing to do for other people and, you know, you won't ever be wrong because someone will least appreciate the thought. And that's what matters the most.
Lisa Cummings: Yes. And it could really go well as an opportunity to notice something that you appreciate about their leadership style, where if you read this and say, hey, when I read this, I thought of you. It's almost as if you contribute it as an author. And then they realize, of course they liked the generosity and that you thought of them and that you would, you know, get grab a book for them. All of that is great and you noticed something that they're doing well and you're reinforcing their strengths and just because they are a higher level in the org chart, then you are at that point, doesn't mean they don't like to be appreciated as well. And those things they stick in the memory.
Jason Treu: Yeah, because often as a pretty lonely existence because my clients that are that level, you know, they have no one to talk to, right? Because they have a board over them or they're on the board and the people on the leadership team like, you know, that's a difficult challenging conversations. They can share something but people below in the organization, they really can't. Right. So they're often very alone and lonely in that role. And so they want people to actually embrace them. And I think the way to do that as well have been talking about today and realize that they're not sitting on some high mountain and they want to be a part of something else in the organization itself is just filling a role that makes it many times very challenging to do so.
Lisa Cummings: I like how this topic is really getting into a feeling of being a magnetic person and in a lot of ways you're doing that by offering that same sentiment out to someone else. And I think you've gone as far as calling it irresistible, like you believe anybody could be irresistible. So for a lot of people when they hear that term, that feels way far away from where they are today. So what are a couple of steps? Let's just start with the first one. What do you do out of the gates? When you don't feel like an irresistible person, you want to build better relationships at work with all the people around you. Get us a starting point,
Jason Treu: Listen. You know, very few people actually listen. How many people do you know are thinking about the answer? And everyone listening, ask yourself, how many times are you really listening to someone or are you finding the answer in your head before they finished the sentence? Right? And I think being an active listener is one of the skill-sets that seems so simple in like, oh yeah, how can they make a difference? But it makes all the difference in the world because when you actually listen to someone and give them positive feedback, it's amazing what can happen, right? And be an active listener along the way because you know they have feelings too and they have emotions and I think that's something that is really important to do in the process. The other thing is just be excited. Be passionate and be enthusiastic. You know what I mean?
Jason Treu: They've proven that happiness and enthusiasm is contagious so you can actually change someone's state right in front of you by being happy, enthusiastic, and being excited. And I do it all at a time and prove it out. My friends were. I go anywhere what I do anything or done it all the time in organization. I might go in and I've hired five people and it's wonderful, right? If I see a client's really down, I get always more exciting and I’ll five them, or I'll do something just because I want to get them excited. You know what? Instantaneously their state changes and if you're around in doing something like that with people, that's amazing. I think the other thing is what we don't do is actually share vulnerable moments with other people and we don't really tell them about ourselves. We try to be perfectly perfect instead of imperfectly perfect.
And when you actually are vulnerable and authentic with people, you make it okay for them to be dumb selves around you because they don't need to worry about being perfect. So I love to lead with being vulnerable and telling stories about things that are going on in my own life or things that are not going well so I can actually create a level of… it's not even beyond rapport. It's that emotional connection as a human being and what's going on and people's struggles. Right, and that again, then and you can listen to what they're saying and you don't solve it. You don't know. You don't need to come up with a solution or try to fix it. All you need to do is be empathetic and listen. Right, and a lot of times that's the best thing because sometimes when you're offering solutions and trying to help people, people look at it as you're not really listening. You're trying to fix them.
Lisa Cummings: Yeah, I love the phrase “perfectly imperfect” too, and that sharing that stuff is. It's not about the thing itself, it's that you're willing to share the story and that you've become human to them and then you get the emotional connection and the listen thing. Let's back up to that because, this is big and there are many factors. There's obviously the huge number of distractions that people have that keep them from listening and then when I've been around people are trying to listen better, I've also noticed that one thing that's missing from the equation is actually acknowledging back that they actually heard what the person said. I mean, they might be watching, they might be hearing the words yet kind of to that point of pre planning what you're going to say next, even if they're trying to focus intently, just bringing the conversation through instead of it being a choppy, you know, you're saying your part. I'm saying my part. So I think that's another good step is acknowledging, oh, I loved, oh, okay. Here's a perfect example. Let's get real meta here when you said perfectly imperfect. And I said, oh, I love that phrase. Perfectly imperfect. This is a small way of listening and paraphrasing what you said yet it's at least acknowledging I heard that and I made some meaning out of it and let's break it down a little bit more.
Jason Treu: Yes, and that's the thing, that important point, if you can bring part of what their content of what they just said to you back into your first statement or two that will make the other person's feel like they've been heard and that you actually listened to them because otherwise you wouldn't have been able to do it. And that's like that's what they call active listening. Right? Versus focusing on what you're going to say and getting out what you need and not in just asking them a question, not because you want to hear what they have to say but more because you want to get your point made.
Lisa Cummings: Exactly, and I noticed something that in the way that you hold a conversation personally that you say a lot of yes and not literally. You do a lot of “yes, and” and that can be another great one and listening that you're modeling is instead of saying sometimes you're going to disagree with somebody and instead of jumping right in with your defense or your butts or your other way to view things can say yes, I see where you're coming from on x and here's another way we could also consider it. And that is a way to throw in another perspective without shutting down what that person said. And I love how you've been modeling that here.
Jason Treu: Yeah, that's important thing. “Yes, and”, and the other thing too, for managers out there I think is really helpful to do is when someone comes to you with a problem or a challenge, you spend five percent on the challenge and making sure you define specifically what it is, but 95 percent of the solution and what I tell people all the time is when someone comes into your office or your cube or wherever it may be an ask a question, you should ask back, okay, well what are three suggestions to solve this problem? Right? Or what are a couple ways that you believe they can solve the problem? And if they say to you, well, I don't really know, then I say to them, well, if you did know, what would you say? And if the person continually doesn't give an answer saying, well, you know what?
I tell them to come back when you have some things; are there some ways that you think you could possibly solve it, right? And it doesn't have to be right, but I want to know that you actually thought this through more and you force people. It's like fishing, right? If you teach people to fish, they can continually do that, but if you give them this fish will always need your help and when people walk away from that conversation and they've solved their own problem, he feels smarter and they feel like, wow, like that's awesome. Like I can do this on my own. right, and that's a really powerful way, again, to build an irresistible brand for yourself and other people because people want to be around those people because you're lifting them up, right and you're helping them and it's a fantastic way and very few people do that.
Jason Treu: Most managers give the solution and they say, well, no, that's not right. Do it this way. Right? Well, the other person then feels like they walked away and that they were broken or they did the wrong way and it will because the manager didn't take the time which would have helped the manager have a better relationship and the employee be way more motivated and proactive moving forward because they're excited about being in a learning environment where you know where being wrong isn't panelized. What's wrong is not having any thought or any idea and not communicating it forward.
Lisa Cummings: And it's such a fun skill to practice as a manager because it's actually easier to ask back and the tendency is, okay, well yeah, I have an idea in my mind I could offer up this advice and instead of doing that, I love how you did the three options. That's cool too because the person who's coming in with a problem, they might have an idea of a solution. They probably feel stuck, but they have a solution that they don't love yet. Or they would have taken action and started solving it, so to say what are a few options? It gets them feeling open enough that they could throw out bad options and then it's good options and then work through them. So that's a really cool too.
Jason Treu: And if you're a manager, what you can’t say back, let's say someone throws out an idea and you're like, wow, that's not really right. You can say to someone, you know, I can see how you could think that that can be an option. Right? And you know, and then you can sort of guide them by asking another question. We'll have you have you thought or considered, you know, doing x, y, or z, right? And you can lead them down the path by asking them questions and having the other person then give answers back, right? In guiding them through the question sets to get to the answer right then. And then you can say to him, see, you knew the answer, right? I may have had to help guide you a little bit, but all along you had the answer inside of you. So I want you to continually start looking inside of yourself because you're a smart, motivated, intelligent individual, and you can do anything you want if you set your mind to it. Right? And I helped you a little bit along this process, but now you see that you can do this yourself, right? So I'll be excited next time when you come to me and we go through this process and we see how much quicker you're going to get to the solution. It's got way more motivating. Someone was walking out of an office like that or somebody who's been told the answer, what do you think is going to motivate and get people excited? Right,
Lisa Cummings: Right. Obviously the second one, and it also, if you tie this to strengths, it's such a beautiful way to have a conversation because everybody problem solve a little differently. We have different thoughts, patterns of thoughts and behaviors and that influences how we solve problems and how we process what's going on around the world. So when you as a leader asks somebody else how they're thinking through the issue, you're helping them use their strengths to solve the problem and you're also learning how they think and then you're learning how to lead in a way that supports that person individually. So it does so much beyond even just getting the answer to the problem; it really does help you individualize your style to that person.
Jason Treu: Yeah, I think it's really important. And you know, the last thing for managers to. I think it's important to really understand your employees and understand where they're at, because you know one of the challenges I've been finding, I was just doing some sales training a few weeks ago and I was talking to people and I was doing more inner work than I was doing actual strengths that they would be using in the external world. What I found when people were coming to me, marital problems, some people had abuse other things that had gone on in their life and this is the things that were holding them back. So I think we've got to realize that when people walk into a business or organization or work remotely or whatever they're going to do, they don't leave their personal life at the door. It goes with them. So you have to get to know people.
Jason Treu: You have to understand what people are doing and you have to support them and be empathetic and possibly even get them help because that's affecting their work performance and affecting the bottom line. And if you try to gloss over that, you're missing a huge opportunity to uplift people and really improve the bottom line. Because people who are more happy and motivated work harder because when you are in a negative mindset or sad or frustrated or angry; the first thing to go with self-discipline and momentum and motivation. Every time. You've heard this before, people say, well, I'm not motivated. I'm not this, I'm not that. Well, you know, one, if you get happy, excited or really joyful in your life, you're going to be more motivated. The other thing is you've got to take action in your life, but you're less likely to take action when you're in a negative place.
Lisa Cummings: Yes! And there are stats from Gallup that they've put out and have studied this really deeply and those who focus on their strengths and focus on what's right about them in the workplace are six times as engaged with their work. So it's a significant difference in the way that you feel.
Jason Treu: Yeah, and I think that's how you find out your strengths a lot of the times too is you know, you got to help people figure those out and see where their challenges are as well. Right? And help them with their own blind spots and weak spots and help them alleviate those or bring those up, work around it. Right. And figure those out. And I think that these are ways for you as a manager and also to manage up and you can see that in other people as well, once you get more in tune with them on an emotional level and started connecting with them and they've done all the studies that the managers today that are succeeding and the people they lead are succeeding because they have vulnerability and authenticity; they are key leadership traits because end of the day, that's what influences other people. And that's what creates charisma. That's what creates persuasion and at the end of the day that creates leadership.
Lisa Cummings: So I know a lot of people are going to want to get their hands on social wealth because there'll be thinking about the charisma and building their leadership and building those relationship skills. So for everybody who wants to get more of Jason, where can they find you, where can they find your book and how can they dig into your stuff?
Jason Treu: So you can go to https://jasontreu.com/(updated, February 2019) it's all one word and you can find my coaching. There are tons of free guides on branding, networking, you know, how to email busy people. There's tons of things and self-development as well and there's stuff on my coaching as well there. And then you can go there also to Amazon to get my book and audio book.
Lisa Cummings: Wonderful. And that is called Social Wealth. So thanks so much for joining Jason. This has been really cool to look at relationships and emotional connections.
Jason Treu: Well, thanks a lot. At least I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and your audience and know they're all fantastic and just go out and take on the world.