In the last several months, I’ve brought together several separate people in my network.
I’m protective of my network because I’ve invested more than 20 years in some of my professional relationships. Trust and respect runs deep.
Therefore, I’m very thoughtful and intentional when making connections.
Recently, I brought together the CEOs of two companies that can potentially team together on a large contract.
I connected them via email, and suggested they schedule a time to talk. The following day, I was copied on an email from one CEO to the other. He was asking for a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before they talked.
I called my contact, thanked him for reaching out, and asked if he would be open to some coaching regarding how he reached out. He gave me permission to proceed.
I suggested that although this may not have been his intent, to immediately ask for a NDA starts the relationship from a place of mistrust. I offered perspective on how his request may be misinterpreted, and explained that he was putting the cart before the horse.
I said, “The single objective of any initial conversation is to answer this question: ‘Do I like you enough to want to have a second conversation?'”
The most important objective for initial contact is to determine if there is a baseline of trust and chemistry to further explore possibilities. That’s it. If we end a conversation or meeting feeling underwhelmed, then we may have to dig deeper to determine if there is a true compatibility, and potential for partnering.
So often, in our quest to find the right partners, we jump straight to the NDA, or even a teaming agreement, without reflecting on whether we personally like them.
I was able to help my colleague understand the importance of not starting a new relationship with the NDA conversation. He phoned the other CEO, and apologized for potentially coming across as non-trusting. They had a great conversation, and are now scheduled to get together.
Ultimately people partner with people they trust. Building trust should always be the single most important goal with anyone we meet. Once trust exists, potential for collaboration is limitless.
PS: Have you ever really messed up, and needed to make amends? Then you will want to read my Inc. Magazine column!
It happens to all of us. What matters is that we demonstrate humility and remorse to move forward.
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Please check out my Inc. Magazine columns on my Author Page too.
Learn about the 12 Habits of Horrible Leaders, and How to Break Them.
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CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”