“Success in any field – but especially in business – is about working with people, not against them.”
– Keith Ferrazzi
There’s less than a handful of people on the entire planet currently alive today whose work has continually and significantly impacted my life. Without even knowing them personally, these people have spoken to me through their life-changing books and given me the confidence and tools that really inspired the mission that I’m on now and that I will continue until my dying breath.
Today, I am extremely grateful to have one of those people on the Win the Day show: Keith Ferrazzi. Keith is undoubtedly the global leader in relationships and networking. In fact, he’s often cited as the modern-day Dale Carnegie. (For those who don’t know, Dale Carnegie is author of one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read, How to Win Friends and Influence People.)
As long-time fans of the Win the Day show will recall, relationships have been by far the most important ingredient in literally every success I have enjoyed to this point and I’m sure will be responsible for every opportunity that arrives in the future. I’ve spoken before about my struggles through high school and as a young adult, and that it was really only at the age of 23 when I felt focused and empowered for the first time.
But the journey from then certainly wasn’t a straight line.
In 2012, I moved to Boston on the east coast of the US – about as far away from my hometown of Brisbane, Australia, as you can get. I was 28 at the time and moved there to study an MBA, and early in the university program they mentioned Keith’s book Never Eat Alone so I grabbed a copy.
The #1 New York Times bestselling book showed how being genuinely interested in other people, being of thoughtful service to others, and constantly learning (and practicing) every day are the foundations to making every one of our own dreams come true. This philosophy had a profound impact on my life. Keith’s blueprint to success in relationships – along with Carol Dweck’s growth mindset and Napoleon Hill’s achievement principles – are what have shaped my mindset today and really underpin everything I do.
Yet, more than ever, I see people who want magic bullets to success – and the secret to instant monetization. However, this focus on immediate gratification all but nullifies the opportunity to establish authentic, lifelong connections that can provide enormously transformational experiences for us and the people we meet.
In May this year, during my presentation at our virtual event House Sessions, I even mentioned that my number one tip for monetization is not advertising, which everyone kills themselves to get, it’s relationships. It’s giving without the expectation of anything in return. It’s boldly being of service. And it’s knowing how to leverage the people in your network – the ones who would do anything to help you – to achieve your mission.
You're going to love this episode of Win the Day with Keith Ferrazzi, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books like Never Eat Alone, Who’s Got Your Back, and the brand new Leading Without Authority. Keith leads executive teams of some of the most well-known companies in the world, including Delta Airlines, General Motors, and Verizon, and is featured regularly in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.
When he was just a summer intern at Deloitte, one of the biggest accounting firms in the world, Keith used the power of relationships to become the youngest Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune 500 company and the youngest partner in Deloitte history, all before he turned 30.
In addition to relationships and networking, Keith is recognized as the world’s foremost authority on remote work. At a time when most teams are failing, and the global pandemic has pushed the majority of organizations to remote work, Keith’s mission is more important than ever.
In this episode, we talk about:
At the bottom of this page, you can also check out the 60 best quotes from Keith Ferrazzi.
I know we were talking offline, but I wanted to quickly give a public acknowledgement to express my gratitude for all you've done – not just to help me, but how you’ve helped the world through your work. It's had a profound impact on my career and on my life, and I know for millions of other people around the world too. So thank you. It means a lot to me that you're on the show today.
Thank you, James. I'm honored.
Three of the most impactful books I've ever read are: How to Win Friends and Influence People (by Dale Carnegie), Think and Grow Rich (by Napoleon Hill), and your book Never Eat Alone…
Those are the three books that had the biggest impact on my life too!
It's a good coincidence then! All those books include themes like: being genuinely interested in other people; the power of the mastermind; how we can all go higher together; and the importance of working on your relationships now rather than when you desperately need them. Those three books have enormously shaped my mindset and created all the opportunities and relationships I have in my life today.
All your work talks about relationships, but I want to know whether you had relationships with any books that played a pivotal role early in your career?
Yes, particularly How to Win Friends and Influence People. My father gave me that book when I was young, and I have to say there's nothing more gratifying to me than when somebody will say to me or introduce me as ‘the modern-day Dale Carnegie.’
Another book you wouldn’t imagine is The Great Gatsby. Growing up, I was a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, and I got to go to some pretty prestigious schools thanks to my parents' commitment to education. But through that, I also created and absorbed a great deal of insecurity. I didn't feel I deserved to be in the room. I wasn't as good as the rich kids.
Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Keith Ferrazzi does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more 🚀
And if you know that last chapter of The Great Gatsby, Gatsby – who came from the wrong side of the tracks – had this beautiful desire to be with Daisy Buchanan. He moved to a mansion right across the ocean from her, in the Long Island Sound. He longed for that green light on her deck that someday he could be something. And that actually was his demise and what ultimately led to his death, as you know from the book.
And the name of my company is Ferrazzi Greenlight. It's to always remind me of that deep insecurity I had as a kid and how that insecurity could really be my demise if I didn't watch out for it. So, The Great Gatsby was a warning to me as a young man.
“It's to always remind me of that deep insecurity I had as a kid and how that insecurity could really be my demise if I didn't watch out for it.”
I just finished your awesome new book Leading Without Authority, where you introduce the concept of ‘co-elevation.’ For those who haven't read the book, what is co-elevation and what problems does it solve in this rapidly changing world we're in?
Thanks, James. Co-elevation is a shift of an operating system in the workplace. And in the last four months, we have seen more innovation change the way of work than we have in 20 years. We’ve been talking about the future of work for 20 years. It happened in four months. And I think the question we have to ask ourselves is: how are we as leaders, teams, and organizations in a post-covid world?
You read my book, Never Eat Alone, and it's about networking. Today, we work in networks. Anybody who's listening to this podcast has to understand that your dreams, hopes, and aspirations depend on your capacity to create a team around you that will co-create and fulfill the mission that you have.
But the mission that you have is owned by the team. So when you invite somebody into your mission, you're inviting them into their mission as well. It’s that journey of co-creation … of taking a hill together. And at the same time as you’re going for that shared mission as a team, you're also equally as committed to each other's development.
Co-elevation is a commitment to a shared mission and a commitment to each other. When a team has that, nothing can stop them.
“Co-elevation is a commitment to a shared mission and a commitment to each other. When a team has that, nothing can stop them.”
Another big theme of the book is that maximizing each other's capabilities should be the responsibility of every member of team. I think that's so important, whether it's a sporting team, a business team, or even a family team.
But in the business world, particularly, we have these hierarchies and job titles. People in a junior role might not feel comfortable approaching someone higher, or maybe the person in a senior role might rest on their laurels due to their job title. Is traditional leadership now out of date, and are job titles sabotaging companies from within?
We have to take a step back to recognize the world we live in today. Today, the world demands transformational levels of change from all of us. If you're an entrepreneur, or simply an individual who wants to achieve anything, it requires that you consume radically large volumes of information and continuously adapt to that information to figure out what your plan and strategy is. You also need to keep pivoting because that information changes pretty frequently.
That's unheard of. Previously, we never had that. I coach the transformation of teams and work with companies like General Motors and Delta Airlines. These groups have wake up every day and ask themselves: “What business are we in? How do we deliver?” And so, every one of us has to meet these transformational pressures.
Now, how do you do that? Well, you cannot do that alone. You're only going to be able to do that through unleashing the insights, the wisdom, the warnings of risk, and with the help of a calm networked set of individuals.
So, if you thought your job was to manage your team, meaning the team of people that report to you, and you think that's going to get you there? Bullshit. There's no way you're going to meet the pressures on you by simply managing the resources you have.
Your ability to transform and meet the pressures of the marketplace is dependent on your ability to enlist others into your goals, your mission, and your vision. If you want to be transformational, you've got to work in the network.
I coach executive teams of some of the biggest companies in the world. Covid hits, and no one is spending outside money on new consulting. Even McKinsey, Deloitte, Accenture, they're giving away their consulting because they don't dare ask for cash, which they know these companies aren't giving, but they want to earn loyalty. So, from our perspective, what's the marketplace that we play in now? Well, we've started playing in the middle market where I've coached coaches in our methodology, and they deploy that into smaller companies. We have courses in team transformation that can be taken online, and I had none of that on March 1st.
“We’ve been talking about the future of work for 20 years. It happened in four months.”
So I needed a team to make all that happen. And I found my team in a group of individuals that I didn't even have to pay. Now, the co-creators of my business ended up being individuals that I had admired for years, who I reached out to. Jim Kwik, the memory expert, is a good friend of mine. I reached out to Jim and said that I didn’t know anything about online sales funnels and I needed to sell to small / medium sized businesses and individual business consumers. Jim walked me through the sales funnel process.
All these people came out of the woodwork to help me. Peter Diamandis. Tony Robbins. All of these people joined my team to help me create my business. Opportunities like that have nothing to do with your org chart. Remember that if you’re sitting there at the moment and think you’re stuck.
I had this conversation last night with my 25-year-old [foster] son. I got him at 16 and he's 25 now. He was bemoaning the fact that there's no work out there. And I said, “Kiddo, let's talk about who's on your team to find your work.” I could, obviously, help with that in a moment, but it’s about his ability to co-create a vision for himself. He needs to know what he wants to do, then invite people in to help him and work out what's next in both of their lives, right?
It's amazing how the entire world is open to you through the idea of creating a team where you’re going to help each other be successful. That's the bottom line, and that’s co-elevation.
These days, everyone wants a magic bullet, instant success. For example, I work with a lot of podcasters, and the number one challenge they have is how to monetize. But the only solution they come up with to monetize is to get sponsors on their podcast.
Recently, at We Are Podcast, I spoke about the number one monetization strategy that you can have is investing in relationships. I mean, Keith, look at the relationships that you and I have both been able to build. Then, as you said, you need to be clear on what you want and not be afraid to call in a favor, because other people who you have built up all that goodwill with actually want to help you. That can easily equate to millions, tens of millions, over time, rather than going for a short-term dollar.
One of my favorite quotes from your book is when you said, “I never let a title or a lack of one stop me.” How did you become the youngest Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune 500 company and the youngest partner in Deloitte history, all by the age of 30?
I'm going to try to answer this in a way that I can coach your listeners and viewers. Imagine yourself working inside of a company. And the CEO says his vision is to really go from eight in the industry to being one of the top consultancies in the world. You're in the audience. What do you do with that information?
Most people say, “Well, that’s nice and I'm glad to be part of the team that's going to go there.”
Well, here’s what I did. I went up to [Deloitte CEO Pat Locanto] the CEO afterward and said, “Sir, what are some of the critical elements that you have in your plan to make us become number one? What are some of the things you're working on?”
He responded by mentioning pieces of brand, marketing, and core competencies. And I said, “Sir, I know you didn't ask me to, but I'll do some research, and if see anything that could help, I'd love to be able to reach out to you and show you what I’ve got.”
He said, “Oh, sure kid” and didn’t think much would come of it.
Well, I went back to school because at the time I was a summer intern. At school, I reached out to a professor of mine and said, “I'd like to do a white paper on professional services marketing. I'd like to do that as a replacement for some of the work that we're doing in our class.”
And he agreed, saying that it sounded like an interesting project. So, I reached out to the top consultancies – their Chief Marketing Officers. I told them that I had spent the summer at Deloitte and was really intrigued by marketing and professional services, but I couldn't find much about it in the industry papers. I mentioned that I was going to do a study on best practices, and I would give them a copy of it when I was done.
So, I was a 100% transparent. And I talked to McKinsey about their vision for thought leadership – how they extracted it from the projects that McKinsey worked on and how they put that out into the marketplace. I talked to Jim Murphy about how he was applying traditional advertising and media, and what that looked like. And then I went to the other folks at the other firms.
I put it all together, sent it to Pat Locanto, and said, “Sir, you don't remember me, but I was the kid that said I'd like to do some research and come back to you. I have now interviewed the Chief Marketing Officers of all the major competitors. Here is the analysis of what a codified marketing strategy would be if we wanted to be rivaling one or two.”
Well, it kind of blew him away. None of his partners had ever done it. He didn't even have a Chief Marketing Officer.
Pat called me, flew me down from Boston (where I was at business school), and took me to dinner. He said, “Kid, this is unimaginable, what you just did. I want you to come and work for the firm, and I want you to come in and work on a project around redefining marketing for the company.”
I said, “I would love to. All I want is one-on-one dinners with you every few months.”
I knew that relationship was more precious than anything else. I did ask for more money; he didn't give it to me!
Then I said, “If I do this job for you, will you make me Chief Marketing Officer??
And he looked at me and laughed. Actually, he said, “No effing way! Get that out of your head. You’re a child, just out of business school, and you would have to be a partner to be the CMO.”
So I said, “Okay then. Make me a partner.”
He said, “You're just lucky you’ve got this opportunity.”
Within three years, I was the youngest partner ever elected at the firm and the Chief Marketing Officer of the company.
So, all I ask for those of you listening to this is don't give me bullshit. In chapter two of Leading Without Authority there's the six deadly excuses of why you are mediocre. And one of them is, is ‘laziness’ because the reality is that path with Deloitte took work. The other one is ‘deference,’ which means, “Oh, it's not my job.” That wasn't my job. There is no excuse for you to remain mediocre. If you want to be extraordinary, you chart your path. Leading Without Authority is really a prescription for that.
“There is no excuse for you to remain mediocre. If you want to be extraordinary, you chart your path.”
Now, the flip side of that is if you are a title individual, holding onto your title is going to also make you mediocre because you'll never have enough resources under your control to really break through. You need to go to Peter Diamandis. You need to go to Jim Kwik. You need to get James Whittaker who knows everything about podcasts to teach you about podcasts, right?
So, you need to expand your view of team, which is chapter one of Leading Without Authority. You need to redefine your view of team. If you don't redefine your view of team, you will remain mediocre with mediocre resources.
Incredible stuff. What I love about the book is how tactical it gets, especially in the second half. I listened to the audiobook, but I think I need to go and get the hard cover because there's just some really amazing stuff in there!
How did the guy on the audiobook do? With covid, I really didn't have the time, even though I wanted to.
He did great! I feel like if you’re an author and you can't do the audio recording, at least find someone who's got a similar voice.
I listened to a bunch of guys and listened to their style. Then I got him on the phone, and I said, “Brother, let me explain this to you. Let me explain to you my passion. I've listened to your books. I don't know who directs you, but I want to tell you, you better be excited as hell about this book. This book is going to change the effing world and how we think about leadership and interdependency in the workplace. It’s going to redefine collaboration. You need to be excited about this. I want you to record your first chapter and send it to me. And if you're not excited enough, I will get someone else.”
By the way, I knew I didn’t need to listen to it. I just needed to throw that gauntlet on the table.
He did great. He's a good substitute for you anytime you can't do it!
You often talk about vulnerability and struggle. Why is that so powerful?
We work in a world where people don't have to do what you want them to do. So, that's what this book is written about. The book is written so that you can lead people who don't have to do what you want them to do. By the way, that's not just people who don't report to you.
I can remember all the jokes about millennials, but the reality is you have to earn your right to lead. People follow you, not out of authority, but out of their own compulsion to do so. So, the basic idea behind all of this was a word I created called opening porosity.
“You have to earn your right to lead.’
This [computer] screen is not porous. You drop water on it, it slides off. Sponges are porous and absorptive. You want people to be a sponge to you. You want people to be a sponge to your ideas. But what opens them to you? Vulnerability. Authenticity.
The reptilian brain, which controls your fight-flight mechanism, is triggered when people are insecure and fearful. A friend of mine, Christine Comaford, talks about people going to critter-state like that. So, many leaders have their people in critter state constantly. But if you’re constantly in critter state, you can't be innovative. You can't be risk-taking. You’ve got to be in flow.
And so, porosity is about us. How do you create ‘us’ with people? And the one human connector of a productive relationship is empathy. You open that door with vulnerability. Think about how I started this conversation when you asked me what books changed my life. I could have stopped at How to Win Friends and Influence People.
But I went to The Great Gatsby. Not only is it an accurate answer, but it’s expressing my vulnerability because what a great opportunity to start this dialogue with people getting a peek into who I am. They open their ears more. Does that make sense?
Absolutely. And I think one of the best things that you have done is stay grounded despite a lot of the people who you rub shoulders with today. I think it's great that your mission is still very much to help everyday people, rather than focusing on coaching the best executive teams in the world. I mean, you are doing that, but you're also doing a lot to help people all over the world because you're aware of the impact that one person with the right knowledge, expertise, and willingness to help can do for others.
Well, it goes back deeper than that. My whole mission… I don't think I've ever told this story in any of the books. My whole mission started at my dad's dinner table when he was unemployed. Unemployment was rampant in Pennsylvania. The bosses and the managers didn’t care about the workers. They weren't unleashing value from the organization.
“The one human connector of a productive relationship is empathy, and you open that door with vulnerability.”
I vowed that I would grow up and make sure that I made an impact on leadership and organizational dynamics, because I felt that we were unemployed because of it. That is an especially important lesson for me, and it is very humbling. I do what I do at General Motors and Verizon and Delta and all these companies because it saves jobs – hundreds of thousands of jobs – and families. That's why I do what I do.
That feeling from when you were young is still so strong within?
So strong. Hopefully I've ironed out a lot of the insecurity, but I’m still working on that.
We’re always a work in progress! What about bureaucratic bottlenecks? Some of my clients are police officers, in Australia and the US, who express their frustration with how hard it is to progress. You can also see that more broadly in any government organization, where people want to move up the ranks, and they don’t want to wait for the tap on the shoulder for it to happen, but they feel like there’s absolutely nowhere for them to go. What can employees of bureaucracies like governments do to move up the ranks quicker?
Well, frankly, the more barriers you have to progress, the more you need to influence the network. I was talking to General Stanley McChrystal who is an amazing business leader and coach. He and I were talking about how the people in the military that really make it to the top understand the network. It’s the grunts down at the front level, the infantry, who are not imagining the network is what's going to get them there. They're just doing what they're told. However, those who do awaken to that are the ones that navigate up through the hierarchy.
“The more barriers you have to progress, the more you need to influence the network.”
But it's true of everything. That’s the only way to move forward if the blockers of large organizations – like silos and bureaucracy – are standing in your way. Deloitte was probably one of the worst organizations at the time. And my whole point was, “Bullshit I’m going to wait for 12 years until I’m a shot at partner.”
I committed to adding so much value, and doing it in the face of the most powerful people that I could find. I didn’t want to play onesy, twoesy around the board. I wanted to go down the slide and win the game.
Rather than being confined by the linear progression, just because of how that worked for others previously?
In March this year, we started really feeling the effects of the pandemic. Now, people are working remotely. There's been a lot of unemployment and a lot of economic issues that I'm sure are still to come in the next few months and years.
Despite that, are there any opportunities or benefits that exist right now, uniquely as a result of what's happened with the pandemic, that people can use for their own personal growth?
Massive. So, that's the third business I just started. In March, everybody was panicked, and I started a business. I had done a lot of research around remote teams and remote work. I did it starting in 2015, and nobody gave a damn back then. I had invested $2 million in research on running remote teams, and I did it with Harvard Business School. I raised the money from Siemens, Cisco, Accenture and a bunch of others.
“I committed to adding so much value, and doing it in the face of the most powerful people that I could find.”
And I believe that remote can be better than co-located. I think a lot of us are finding that it's not as bad as we thought, and with certain adaptation you are going to get better collaboration. So, I opened a website called Virtual Teams Win, which was me finding opportunity in crisis. And through that website, we started courses and a resource center. That point of view gave me access.
For example, Zoom named me their top thought leader in remote teams. Fast Company did the same. Harvard Business Review asked me to do more pieces within a one-month period. I had more PR and more visibility because I read the tea leaves of where people were suffering the most, and I decided to serve that market.
I was talking to a gentleman this morning, Martin Lindstrom, who's just a brilliant market strategist. He was talking to me about how in times like this, you need to step back, look at the tea leaves and say, “How has customer demand changed and in what way? And how do we serve that?”
And it might be that you serve someone you've never served before. Unilever didn't do hand sanitizer, and in 20 days they had hand sanitizer on the shelves in North America. Normally, it would have taken them six months to get a product on the shelf.
And now the hottest item in the world.
Exactly. You need to look at the tea leaves and really understand and decide how you’re going to serve. With Virtual Teams Win we started a whole series of what we call ‘remote reboots.’ How does a team reboot itself in a remote world and make it a better team? But then I started hearing people talking about going back to work, and I thought, “What's that going to look like?” And I started getting scared, because I've seen more innovation in the last four months than I have seen in 20 years.
“I had more PR and more visibility because I read the tea leaves of where people were suffering the most, and I decided to serve that market.”
And I wanted to capture that. So, I started a media site, as opposed to go back to work, it's called Go Forward to Work. And I hired the former managing editor of Forbes, the former editor of Brand Week, and a few writers. And they're collecting the world's largest database of best practices of how work been redefined over the last four months and how marketing and sales have been redefined.
I know one large tech company that used to spend a billion dollars a year in sales travel, but now they've spent no money in sales travel. They've saved over $400 million in sales travel – and their loyalty numbers have gone up. So, what does that say?
One question is, “What have we seen that we like, and we want to hold on to, as we go forward?” Start curating that question with your team.
And the next question is, “What are the things that we're fearful in a remote world will not be performed as well?” And then when you list those things, stay on them and ask, “Well, how can we do them better?”
We believe we've engineered a process where team meetings can actually be better in remote world than they were physically. So, I think there's a lot of opportunity right now.
You speak all over the world and meet tens of thousands of people each year. What system do you have of keeping in touch with all those people that you meet?
I use Salesforce. I know it's a little expensive, and there may be a lot of things out there, but what I like about it is that as my company has grown, it doesn’t just track my network – it tracks campaigns.
The one thing I learned since writing Never Eat Alone is that a network is not about you running a bunch of individual relationships. It’s starting communities. And that's probably a whole conversation by itself, but starting communities is very powerful. When I started Go Forward to Work, part of the intention was to take all of my VIP relationships, pull them into a virtual room and say, “How will we teach each other what the future of work looks like?”
I started a community and then I hired a community manager, a gentleman from Forbes, who's curating that conversation, so when I'm not there, I'm still there. When that group convenes with Bruce, I'm present in that conversation, right? So, your ability to be present in conversations and build your network by building community makes you exponential in terms of your network.
So much of what you talk about comes from that abundance mindset. It's like when you were talking about hosting parties at your house, where you ask everyone to be co-hosting the evening – that they all make sure everyone's got a drink in their hand and that everyone’s invited into a conversation.
Well, the point I'm making is that leaders are great hosts. And part of being a great host is helping other people make other people comfortable. If I’ve got a table of 14, I can handle that. I can make everybody comfortable. But if I've got a party of 150, now I need to turn everybody into hosts. If everybody acts like a host to take care of each other, then everyone's going to be taken care of.
“Part of being a great host is helping other people make other people comfortable.”
It's the same thing with your team. A great team leader is a host of a team that takes care of each other.
In Leading Without Authority you talk about co-elevation in the workplace predominantly, but what about co-elevation in the home? How can it be used to improve a marriage, or a relationship with your children, or even a relationship with someone's parents?
By the way, it is so infrequent that I show up and somebody's done their homework. You've actually read the book and consumed it. It's just amazing! Thank you for that.
The example I use a lot is my son. I could not parent my child the way that my dad parented me, nor would I want to. And I think that's true of a lot of us. But with our spouses, imagine being in a spousal relationship where your commitment is to a shared and aligned set of goals for each other, for the family, for my career and for my spouse's career. And collectively we are going higher together where we are open and interested in each other's challenges, innovations, and critiques. Not critique as in badgering. Critique as in caring enough to correct. And it's received that way and it's given that way.
I'm single now. I've been single for five years and I've made a commitment that my spouse is going to be my co-elevating partner. That's one of the reasons I didn't dive back into a relationship sooner.
I'm hopeful that co-elevation is adopted by governments because we certainly need more cross the aisle collaboration. It's starting to heat up with all the [political] conventions. And unfortunately, we're going to see such divisiveness and lines drawn, when what we need is more co-creation because we need the brilliance on all sides of the aisle to come together and fix these problems.
Absolutely. Focusing on the future rather than pointing fingers or what might've got us here in the first place.
How can someone turn a generic “How can I be of service?” into actually being of service?
Well, listening helps and asking the question is easy. In the case of Pat Locanto, I was in the audience and I heard something and I was like, “Let me double click on that. That sounded important. Let me double click and let me see if I can be of service.”
It’s this idea of serve, share, and care. And the service piece is really understanding what another human values. And typically, there's a checklist: they care about the kids, they care about their own personal development, they care about the careers, they care about being entertained, they care about their intellectual growth, they care about their spirituality.
You have a checklist of things, and if you are curious and ask people questions about things, you can start to say, “Oh, well, I can introduce you to this person.” Or “Maybe I could help you here, or “Could I do some research here for you?”
It's quite easy when you start having a framework that says, “Okay, James. How do I help James? Well, here's the checklist of things that I might be able to do to be helpful.” And you get better at it as you practice.
Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Keith does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give her 18-year-old self, his favorite book, and a whole lot more 🚀
Final question. What’s one thing you do to Win the Day?
I workout every day.
Connect with Keith Ferrazzi and learn more about the resources/links mentioned in the interview:
📙 Keith's new book Leading Without Authority
🚀 #1 New York Times bestseller Never Eat Alone
👨👨👧👧 All-time classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
🗝️ Bestselling self-help book of all time Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
That’s all for this episode! Remember, to get out there and win the day – I certainly will after that chat with Keith.
Until next time...
Oonwards and upwards always,
PS - As a special bonus for making it this far, check out the 60 best quotes from Keith Ferrazzi below...
The 60 best quotes from Keith Ferrazzi:
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
Dr Stephen Covey
Over the weekend, my wife and I moved into a new house in Los Angeles, CA. As you know, an exciting part of any move is getting to know the new neighborhood. I noticed there was a gym a short walk away, and thought it might be interesting to check it out.
I walked in and the receptionist told me a gym manager would accompany me for a tour shortly. A few minutes later, the gym manager emerged and off we went. He pointed out everything — the female locker room, where the 90+ year old’s do their swim class, and many other things I literally had zero interest in.
But the interesting part is not in what he did, it’s in what he didn’t do. Not once was I asked:
I tried to give him some clues, but to no avail.
At the end of the tour, he gave me a high five and enthusiastically asked, “Are you signing up today!?”
“No,” I responded.
The gym manager turned to the receptionist and proclaimed, “My man here wants to sign up TODAY!” then walked off.
I thanked the receptionist and left.
The following day, I had my six-monthly dental checkup. Before I’d even sat down in the chair, they’d hit me with question after question:
I couldn’t help but laugh at the difference between the two scenarios.
The lesson? You cannot give someone a solution until you’ve figured out what their problem is!
So, what then is the simplest and most direct way to figure out what their problem is?
Ask as many tailored questions as you can, until you’re fully aware of what their need is, then you can offer your solution IF (and only if) there’s a good fit. That’s what Covey meant in the headline quote, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” By focusing so much on trying to get our own point across, we may ignore the other person completely.
What’s another benefit of asking questions? It builds rapport! The dentist would’ve pinpointed any issues when she looked in my mouth, but she knew that building rapport and having clients feel comprehensively looked after is what’s most important.
The most interesting topic in the world to any person is themselves. As Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, said: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”
This is a tenet of relationships that goes back thousands of years. In 500 BC, famed military strategist Sun Tzu said: “Know your enemy and know yourself and you’ll never be in peril.” Today, good professional services firms have their own version: “Know your product. Know your client.”
This applies for any business. Remember to only offer a solution when you’re clear on what the problem is.
How much time do you think is wasted from people selling to prospects who were never going to buy in the first place? A few simple questions upfront will:
You’ll find that your trajectory in your career and in your personal life corresponds with the amount of value you’re able to provide for others. But how can you provide value if you don’t know the other person—what they want, where they want to go, and what problems they need solutions to?
Whether in business, relationships, or friendships, direct all your attention to knowing the other person’s motive. The best way to do that is to question everything.
Onwards and upwards always,
In case you missed it:
Lessons from the Best
“Be grateful for all that you have while you pursue all that you want.”
Well, that was quick!
The end of the year is an opportune time to honestly reflect on the year that was—think about the goals you achieved or didn’t even get around to setting, the people you met or didn’t meet, the work you did or didn’t do, the books you read or didn’t read, and the comfort zone you leapt out of or stayed within.
You get the point.
Constant calibration is a fundamental characteristic of extraordinary achievers. When you have your perfect destination in all areas of your life clearly defined, it’s much easier to review your actions to see exactly what you need to do more (or less) of to make 2019 the best year yet.
Stay focused and committed to starting the year strong. Before the end of December, make sure you’ve already got a:
Together, these things will have you excited to put in the work each day, attract people / resources into your life who can help you on your journey, and make you more resilient when adversity inevitably strikes. Most importantly, make sure your daily actions correspond with the brightest of your dreams.
For those who have recently joined, here’s a list of the most popular posts this year:
There’s a lot of practical tips in there that can be applied by anyone. All these newsletters are inspired by my firsthand interviews with more than 100 of the world’s most accomplished people and written to help you unlock your potential.
There will be some exciting announcements soon! For those who want more resources to help take your personal and professional results to the next level, there’ll be online courses, videos, and even an exclusive mastermind opportunity. Stay tuned for more info.
Reflecting on the year that was, I appreciate all of you for so willingly sharing your thoughts and struggles with me via email, social media and at speaking events. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve and look forward to helping you engage with your authentic self on a deeper level than you ever thought possible.
Contrary to what slick salespeople say, you ARE enough and everything you need to succeed is already within your possession. As Jim Stovall says, “Being successful is not a closed club. After all, you have the ability. So the question is not ‘can you’ but ‘will you’.”
Take action now. Your life depends on it.
Wishing you and yours every success and happiness this holiday season!
Onwards and upwards always,
In case you missed it:
The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”
The two most defining self-help books of the last century are, arguably, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Remarkably, they were released within one year of each other: Carnegie’s in 1936 and Hill’s in 1937. Both dominate ‘best book’ lists and continue to forge lasting legacies around the world, guiding innovators and changemakers from generation to generation.
These two books reinforce the timeless principles of success, complementing each other with practical tips and strategies that can be applied by anyone, irrespective of circumstances, such as:
Carnegie understood, better than most, how powerful the knowledge of high performers strategies can be in one’s own self-development. Through thousands of hours of purposeful practice, he became a revered orator and began teaching others how they could learn people skills that would create enormous success in business. His lessons catapulted aimless but ambitious people into titans of industry.
Two crucial components of his philosophy were that:
“In my office, you will not see the degree I have from the University of Nebraska, or the master’s degree I have from Columbia University, but you’ll see the certificate I got from the Dale Carnegie course.”
Despite passing away in 1955, Dale Carnegie is regarded as one of the world’s foremost authorities on personal development, leadership and communication. On 24 November, Carnegie would’ve been 130 years old—you can enjoy some of his most famous quotes below.
May his legacy live on through the ongoing pursuit of our potential and thinking the best of others.
Onwards and upwards always,
In case you missed it: ‘The Greatest Lessons and Best Quotes from Napoleon Hill.’
“Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation.”
Early on in my career I made the decision to get good at networking. Whether it was striking up a conversation with a stranger in an elevator, trying to be memorable at events, or adding value to people far higher up the pecking order, I wanted to forge a meaningful relationship based on emitting a vibrant energy, an organic connection and unconditionally adding value.
This decision, along with being committed to simple and consistent action, has been the cornerstone to every success I have achieved to this point.
Being your natural self is an important part of building relationships. When it happens as organically as possible, authenticity reigns, time is saved and value increases tenfold. I’ve seen too many networking ‘experts’ say that the solution is to start at the finish line, where you spend big money to attend events, enthusiastically ‘appear’ (rather than meaningfully engage), and dish out business cards like ninja stars.
Remember, extraordinary achievement only comes with a strong foundation. A few meaningful connections are far more valuable than exchanging 500+ business cards.
Here is a five-step system to take your networking skills to the next level. This process can be followed by anyone and I absolutely guarantee it will have an enormous impact on your life.
True mastery in any field—including networking—only comes from ridiculous amounts of purposeful practice. Before diving headfirst into the deep end, work on your stroke. Here are the three best networking books I have encountered:
Grab a notepad and spend one hour each day reading these books, until you’ve finished all three, being sure to jot down ideas and inspiration as it comes to mind. When you’re finished, keep increasing your knowledge with podcasts like Build Your Network by Travis Chappell.
I guarantee you will 10x your networking results from this first step alone.
Retain a laser-like focus by being crystal clear on your objective, i.e. what you actually want to achieve from networking. Perhaps it’s to:
It could be anything. Once you have a clear objective, you can work on crafting an elevator pitch that gets people excited about wanting to help you achieve it. The result? A sizzling first impression.
Just remember the cardinal rule of networking is to focus on other people’s interests before your own. As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
One of the biggest mistakes people make is scrimping on their personal brand. Tidy up your social accounts and your personal website, and get some good quality business cards that:
In the world of Squarespace/Wix and Fiverr/Upwork, there’s no reason not to have at least a reasonably professional online presence, irrespective of where you’re at in your career.
In reference to creating a killer website for his brand new (at the time) School of Greatness podcast, Lewis Howes told me, “The website needed to look professional if I was to attract high level people to appear on the show. If it looked amateur, I would only attract amateurs.” Invest in your personal brand.
At this stage you should be fired up and ready to go, like Usain Bolt on the starting blocks! Test out your skills in every interaction you have, whether at a coffee shop, the dog park, in a business meeting—everywhere. The aim is to quickly establish rapport and get comfortable communicating with authenticity. Carry an air of confidence, trying to draw out a smile from others. If you’ve done step one, you’ll know that you need to be:
Find a list of conferences/events that are in your industry. If possible, connect with a few people beforehand who might be attending—you can easily find them via an industry FB page, the event’s FB page or posting to your own network. Having some conversations locked in can help you warm up and feel more confident than fronting it blind. Make sure you look professional, but natural and authentic.
When you start to meet people of interest, and have offered value to them, ask them to suggest 1-2 people you absolutely need to connect with at the event. When they offer some names, ask for an introduction. The original lifestyle entrepreneur Tim Ferriss once outlined his networking strategy as: “Go narrow. Go long.” A deep, trusted relationship with a few people is exponentially more powerful than a surface-level acquaintance with many.
Experience is an essential part of mastering your craft, and remember that you’ve already done most of the hard work, so excitedly get out there and get your “sea legs”.
Continue to offer value without the expectation of anything in return—perhaps it’s an article that might interest them, an introduction to someone you know, or a brief catch up to hear more about their journey and how you can help.
Down the track, start hosting your own mastermind catch ups to really turbocharge your network. Never underestimate how valuable a core team of enthusiastic supporters can be on every aspect of your life.
Remember, networking is not event-specific—it is an “all the time” skill. Judge success on the number of real relationships you’ve made and invest in them long term, rather than risk burning them for short term gain.
Follow this simple formula and see how quickly your impact is amplified. After all, your network is your net worth.
Onwards and upwards always,