Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: Credibility Connects


In the tenth chapter of his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John Maxwell gives his fifth set of practices for connecting, namely, how to gain credibility as a leader by living what you communicate.   In the past few posts,  I discussed the opening to the chapter, in which the first step in connecting with others is the ability to connect with yourself.   This can be done through self-assessment to uncover your flaws or weaknesses, and dealing with weaknesses or flaws you may uncover in this process.    The last post covered the various additional ways in which you can improve your credibility, such as

–leading the way you live

–telling the truth about your own weaknesses

–being vulnerable to criticism (= being willing to learn)

–follow the Golden Rule

–deliver results

This is the final section of the chapter, and it sums up the entire fifth set of practices discussed in the chapter with the simple phrase:   credibility connects.

1.   Your Team = Your Extended Family

John Maxwell says that in your personal life, you should aim to have those who are closest to you–your parents, your spouse, your children, your friends–not only love you, but respect you.   This is presumably because they trust you, and have confidence with you.    In the United States, the “work ethic” is to separate one’s family life and one’s professional life and allow each to flourish in their own sphere.    However, John Maxwell advocates bringing this same “family ethic” into your professional sphere of life.   In other words, treat your colleagues, whether it is at your place of worship, at your workplace, in your professional associations, or in your volunteer organizations, as members of your extended family.    Aim to have them trust you and have confidence in you as if you were a member of their own family.

2.  Connecting Comes in Drops, in Waves, and in an Entire Ocean

You can connect with people on a one-time basis, like greeting strangers, being kind to people who are in service positions, or giving a talk to an audience.    This connecting is like drops of water that come off the waves from the ocean.    However, in order to connect with people on a long-term basis, your connections must come relentlessly with the steady beat of the waves as they come in from the ocean.   A single drop may refresh someone’s face, but a wave can move, and has the power to transport and to transform those who are caught in its power.

And you will find that the success that is generated by your connecting with others takes on a life of its own, and starts to effect others, like the ocean that generate new waves as the approach the shore.

One of the closing lines of the movie Cloud Atlas has a character who is a financial backer of the slave trade berate his son-in-law who decides, after his life is saved by a freed black slave, to quit the slave trade business and move East to join the abolitionists.    The father-in-law chides him by saying, “Your life amounts to no more than a drop in a limitless ocean.”    As he leaves with his wife, the son-in-law responds, “Yet what is an ocean, but a multitude of drops?”

Use John Maxwell’s techniques to connect like a series of drops, then gain credibility and become a wave … you will soon find that the power of the ocean is behind you, whether you term that force “God” or “nature”.

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