Letters to my child. Leadership, Business and Kaizen.

Connecting to People: Dog Walking.

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Dear Ender,

Last night I read John Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect”.

The author believes that the best leaders are excellent connectors.

You need to write this down because it is important: You must learn to connect with every kind of person in any kind of situation. Besides the cookie on the airplane story, my favourite part of the book was when the author told the following story:

During her second year o nursing school, a student wrote a quiz and  the last question asked, “what is the first name of the  woman who cleans the school?” The student thought it was a joke. Everyone had seen the cleaning woman several times but she did not know the name. She handed in her paper leaving the last question blank. Someone else in class asked if they were going to be marked on the last question. The professor answered, “Absolutely. In your career you are going to meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care. Even if all you do is smile and say hello.” 

Sakura

When I walk my dog, strangers often approach and ask, “what is her name?” I have been living in this neighbourhood for two years and I must have heard that question 80 times. Out of 80 people, how many people have ever asked MY name? One. His name is Steve and he is an outstanding connector.

Why do you think that happens? We live in an excellent neighbourhood. People around here are polite, some are extremely wealthy and every time they ask, “what is her name” with a big smile on their faces. Well… They don’t ask MY name because I have never asked THEIR names.

As a matter of fact, I don’t ask any question at all. I say, “Her name is Sakura.” I let them pet her a little and say good bye followed by “have a nice day.” Every day of our lives we miss out on making connections with other people. We are so worried about what other people think and how they are going to react… we miss out.

I mentioned Steve above. He knows everybody around here and everybody knows him and his dog.

Here are the five practical skills of connection:

1- Finding common ground.

2- Making communication Simple.

3 – Capturing interest.

4- Inspiring people.

5- Being authentic.

Putting what I learned into practice:

Here is what I am going to say next time someone shows interest. “My wife named her Sakura. It means cherry blossom in Japanese. My name is Silvio Kusakawa. What is your name?” Followed by, “Do you have dogs?” and “Have a good day, (insert name)”.

“Everything we become and all that we accomplish in life are the result of our interaction with others.”

– John Maxwell.

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