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Archive for June, 2014

Got Your Back

working_togetherI am teaching this term a masters level course term on professional skills.  You know, personal skills for business people.

We’ve covered professional branding, networking, professional use of social media and now team building.

The book we’re studying now is Who’s Got Your Back, by Keith Ferrazzi.  We previously studied his book, Never Eat Alone.

Prior to actually reading the book, I had one thought only in mind about having someone’s back.  It is about someone who is willing to go to war with you.   It is someone who will defend you in your absence.  It is someone who will defend against behind your back challenges when your focus is forward.  My feeling of the word is captured by the following screen shots from Mr. and Mrs. Smith, starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

mr_mrs_smith_going_to_war

Fortunately for my students, I am not a warrior facing battle in class.  Along the way, I’ve picked up on a different aspect of business relationships.  That is, business is best conducted between people who know, like and trust each other.  The students in my classes are part of my team.  When we come to class, we are working together to accomplish the learning task of the day.

And this is Ferrazzi’s thesis in Who’s Got Your Back.  Business is most successfully conducted by close and effective teams who build deep, trusting relationships with business connections.

handsI’m a typical accountant in many ways.  I prefer numbers over people.  If a subject doesn’t contain numbers (such as psychology or sociology), I deride it as touchy and feely.  Never-the-less, Ferrazzi makes relationships sound appealing.  If only I know how to make a relationship work.

Does this book hold anything for accountants?  I think so. Accountants get a bad rap for their lack of people skills.  Based on my personal experience with thousands of accountants, this reputation is well deserved.

Just imagine what accountants could do for society if we were liked and trusted.  It would be a new and wonderful world.

Ferrazi’s Who’s Got Your Back has three themes.

The first theme is the necessary mind sets that must be present to help develop a sense of intimacy with another person.  They are (1) generosity, (2) vulnerability, (3) candor and (4) accountability.

The second theme is focused on “building your dream team.”  A rugged individualist is limited to what he or she can personally accomplish.  A business person who is part of team can leverage everyone’s individual efforts.

The third theme is the life time commitment it takes to doing things the people way.

I like Who’s Got Your Back, and recommend you pick it up for a thoughtful weekend read.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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