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Why Connect?

In the last chapter, we saw a successful leadership connection supports and furthers the mutual interests of the agency and the person with whom the connection is made. For a successful connection, the agency has to be very clear about what its interests are. Why? is not for the sake of yesterday. We never use leadership connections to complain or whine about things that have already happened. We may report past events for the sake of the record or to make it clear we are disappointed or unhappy; but if we do, we are cautious, understanding such actions and behavior seldom accomplish anything useful. They definitely do not serve to positively reinforce our leadership connections. Criticizing, blaming, accusing, threatening, or any other version of finger pointing is counterproductive. It is seldom if ever in the agency’s best interest. There is an old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. This is occasionally true; but equally true is the fact if it keeps squeaking; sooner or later it simply gets removed from the wagon.

Leadership connections serve multiple agency interests, but those interests are in the future. The connections are for the sake of future events, situations, and circumstances. This includes providing and receiving information about areas of mutual interest, along with staying current on happenings within the agency and within the stakeholder’s area. It includes a continuing opportunity to influence each other in ways working to the advantage of the agency and the stakeholder. Each connection serves to improve the odds for future success of both participants.

Reciprocity is a key feature of successful leadership connections. There is and should be a good measure of give and take in every leadership connection. The point that may not be obvious is a fair degree of equity in that give and take is essential. From the agency’s point of view, however, the balance stays tipped away from the agency in favor of the stakeholder. On average, the stakeholder gets a little more out of the relationship than the agency. When the time comes when the agency receives significantly more than it gives and that time will come the agency will have a sufficient balance with the stakeholder to handle the temporary inequity without jeopardizing the connection. The underlying concept here may be thought of as Leadership Banking.