Snoop “D-O-Double-G” is on the money and is also right when he says it happens all the time.
I teach old Brands new tricks, and for a couple of decades, I have done so from the C-Suite. Somehow potential mentees know that I have developed several leaders who achieved tremendous results. Mentees eagerly show up to learn leadership secrets and become executive superheroes. These executives are knocked off balance, however, when asked, “what did you bring in exchange for the gifts you hope to receive?”
With varying degrees of finesse, these executives often conclude they have nothing worthy to offer a CEO. And so the lesson begins.
If you hope to lead others, you will have to invert that ratio. You must think about what you have to offer those that you would lead rather than exclusively focus on what they bring you. In short, you must lead from their perspective, not yours.
It is usually not fun to watch them suffer beyond this point. So I explain that to find the professional success they are seeking they must convince people like me to be more than sages. They must compel us to become active sponsors and advocates that push for their opportunities and career and possibly link our personal brands with theirs.
“How am I supposed to do that?”
I ask them, and I ask you to think about the world from your mentor’s/sponsor’s perspective for a moment. Are they privy to your unvarnished, breakroom conversations? What questions do your team ask in the “meetings after the meeting?” Do you have any suggestions how we can make the company’s story or strategy more compelling? When is the last time you endorsed an executive’s leadership with other leaders or directors?
As you read the questions above, I trust they begin to form a framework that enables you to shift your perspective and prepares you to exchange value with those you hope will help you. I promise that if you exchange even a little value with your mentors, it will set you apart from 99.9% of your competition.
- Reflect on the value creation opportunities you may have missed.
- Decide how you create value going forward.
- Implement your plan and watch your relationships blossom.
If you would like a few more ideas to help you get in touch with what you can offer those around and above you, download my Value Exchange Thought Starters.