Sunday, October 26, 2008

Keith Ferrazzi Opens the Eyes of Young MBA's

I was fortunate to hear Keith Ferrazzi speak last week in New York City for American Express MBA new hires. What impressed me the most was his willingness to be vulnerable in his talk. All of us who have read his book Never Eat Alone know he was vulnerable in his book but to be vulnerable in front of a room of one hundred and twenty people – that takes another level of courage. And it was that willingness to be seen fully seen that gave the audience the ability to connect with him and his teachings.

He spoke of taking the time to care about others. And not just those we think will benefit us but seeing people as important regardless of their title and or status. He related to a dinner party where he was next to a Congressman and a very old woman. And his choice to engage with the little old woman brought him an unexpected and much needed life lesson that came to him at just the right time.

He spoke about sharing ourselves. How when we ask others about their passions we will be connected to them and their humanity on a whole new level. And that when we reveal some of our own true self we too will stand out to the person we’ve engaged with.

He spoke about generosity. How there are opportunities around us everyday where we can be generous with our heart and really impact those around us. And how that has unexpected ways of returning back to us.

He spoke about the importance of mentors. How those that we hold as our heroes with reverence and awe are usually happy to lend a hand, an ear or constructive advice. We just must be willing to ask for help.

I think the performance driven culture these folks have just been indoctrinated with for so many years can tempt them to stay in the mindset of “Do, do do!” Keith message was, “Okay I get it folks – you are doers but what if you tempered that energy with some “being-ness? What might you create then?”

Keith’s open heart and vulnerability coupled with his education and experience surely contribute to the reasons that this group was able to open themselves up to even consider this perspective shift in how they might approach their careers. Since he is a trusted peer - his stamp of approval on this unconventional approach allows them to consider, perhaps for the first time, how they can create their own path and become shepherds in their companies instead of sheep. And in light of the current crisis our culture faces how great would it be to have less sheep and more shepherds?

ATTENTION Corporate America: Bring Keith and his message into your board room and break room, and watch your ROI soar!

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