By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you to stay connected to all parts of your organization. Reading time: 3:10.
Can you hear it?
Can you see it?
Oh yes you can if you are 8 years old again.Turn back the clock with me.
There I am watching my choo choo train snake around the Christmas tree. This was no ordinary choo choo train. It came with scenery that you could set up, trees, and houses and yes even city lights. Wow. City lights.
But then suddenly, ominously, mysteriously those lights flickered and went out and so did my enthusiasm. I was so sad and mad. Everything seemed plugged in.
Why isn’t my train running? The lights on our Christmas tree were on so I knew the electricity was on. The switch on my train was on. But nothing was moving. Everything seemed dead. And I felt like crying or screaming. I was having a bad day.
But then my dad saved the day.
He found a loose wire underneath the track. He showed me how to apply an electrical connector so that wire would stay connected. I twisted that orange connector that looked like a long jelly bean.
Then suddenly those lights beamed in all their splendor. And then I heard my train erupt back to life and once again my train whistled Woooo…..Woooooo……Wooooo. I was so happy.
That little electrical connector made such as impression on me for its ability to keep all parts connected and to assure that productivity is plugged in and continues to deliver power that today I use those electrical connectors as a symbol of the connections that leaders make to keep their organizations running.
In fact I have used those bright orange electrical connectors as a credential for a mentoring program that I designed and developed for a major corporation.
Both the mentor and the mentee were each given an electrical connector to remind both of them to stay connected.
To add even greater value to that electrical connector, mentees would not be allowed into a weekly class on career development and working with a mentor without first showing that connector.
But even more empowering–and symbolic — is the fact no matter how good the electrical connector is it won’t be functional unless you first peel the rubber insulation on the wires.
The symbolism is even more heartening when you consider how difficult it is to establish trust in any relationship.
In a very real sense, you have to be willing to peel back the insulation that gives you so many comforts.
You have to be willing to bare your wire, to truly expose yourself in order to grow in a mentoring relationship in particular and any relationship in general.
That’s what leaders do: they bare their wires and they engage others to bare their wires and make a connection that keeps the organization plugged in and productive.
Even today, I carry an electrical connector in my pocket as a reminder of my role as a leader: to keep making connections.
I often advocated to other leaders to keep that electrical connector their pocket or purse, on the dashboard of your car or on the bathroom counter, just to remind them how important it is to get a grip on all those dangling wires in your life.
Train yourself to make those kind of connections and watch your career take off like a train: Wooo…Wooo….Woo.
Stay connected to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
SUBSCRIBE: Have a Leadership Mint delivered to your E-mail every business day. It’s free. Just click the SIGN ME UP box in the upper left column.