While guiding our proteges through their careers, we come across challenging work situations which have the potential to worsen or completely derail a business relationship. Constructive (win-win) conversations are the ideal, but sometimes there are clashes and misunderstandings, perhaps rooted in differences in personality or values between individuals, or cultural norms.
One of our members recently shared an assessment she had previously done and told us how it helped her and her colleagues to understand each other better, especially in more stressful situations. It focuses on situations when an apology is given, and we agree that it can help to make sense of what different people expect from a sincere apology (as well as understand what you yourself like to hear from others).
The challenge is that “I’m sorry” can contain different layers of meaning depending on who is saying it, and more verbal explanation is often needed – others can’t infer what you specifically mean unless you explicitly tell them. To help smooth relationships, Dr Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas developed the 5 Apology Languages, based on their extensive discussion sessions with their customers, building too on their previous research.
When working with other people, wires can get crossed, tension can arise, and feelings can get hurt. Learning to move beyond these moments of frustration is crucial for collaboration. Specific and sincere apologies can go a long way to averting ‘sad, sad situations’. Read more to discover the 5 apology languages: adapting your approach to take genuine account of your co-workers’ apology preferences can help to smooth things over faster.
Adding mutual value in business relationships is a great way to build a network of people who can offer you information, resources and support to succeed over your career. In this article, we discuss networking and building business relationships, a topic our members ask about, whether as an ongoing process for career success, or specifically when they are joining a new organisation. We love that they, by asking, signal they are thinking of relationship-building in a strategic way while also appreciating that things get done through working with others.
Everything is attached to another human being. They write the cheques. They have the funding. They know about the job opportunities... Research for years has shown that your network equals your net worth.”
Using ideas from Judy Robinett, we discuss the importance of building and sustaining your network. Judy grew up in a very small town in the US and “didn't know anyone of wealth, power or influence”, yet over her career she learnt lessons and built relationships such that today she has “such a broad and deep network that I’m connected to almost any resource you may need, so I’m having fun”. The term “networking” can have negative connotations, conjuring up images of schmoozing, manipulating others for self-serving ends, superficiality, or rigidly diarised followups. Read more to explore Judy’s tips to focus our relationship-building on adding value (including her "three golden questions"), learn more from a Harvard Business Review article on networking in a new job, and see Judy’s book about strategic networking and one of her TEDx talks.
Over recent months, I’ve been reconnecting with many of my previous colleagues and professional connections, both to share with them what we’re building, as well as to hear their personal experiences. These experiences include how they have reached where they are today, and what their dreams for their future are, especially career-wise.
This post is a follow-on to my longer personal journey in which I shared some of my career history, perspectives, and inspirations. In it, I encouraged you to please make contact with us, and share your own stories, what motivates you, and your top tips. While engaging with us, some of you have told me that you are a little shy, have “nothing inspirational to share”, or aren’t comfortable to submit directly. The first step is to start the conversation, so please do send your thoughts (however short) to us, and we’ll help you to distil them positively into messages that can resonate with others. These can include:
We won’t publish your emails verbatim, and will engage further before we determine how to position your story. If you want to write a two-thousand word essay, please do, but that’s not required. Even fifty words can help to inspire others, whether we share them as short updates, or as part of a combined thematic post.
To help stimulate your creative cells, we’re intending to post examples, inspiration, and hybrid stories over the coming months. Please do send us your thoughts or ideas, or if you’d like to, comment directly on the posts (note though that post comments, once reviewed, would appear verbatim).
From the conversations I’ve had with you, here is a distillation of your feedback so far:
On a personal note, the evolution of Protagion has very definitely been an exciting ride so far, and I’m learning so many new things. So radically different each day, and extremely challenging – in a good way. Onwards and upwards...
We at Protagion find our engagements with you uplifting and we draw our inspiration from helping you to achieve your personal best, whether via a quick adjustment or a longer-term grand plan. Where improvement is sustained and the outcomes are long-term, this is the ultimate reward for us.
We’re loving learning and growing our business while supporting you to learn and grow. Thank you for being a part of it. Please do share your personal experiences with us.