Are You Making Connections?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

 Leaders require relationships with others.  To lead successfully means you are able to capture the hearts of others and move them to actions that produce meaningful outcomes.  Results are how we measure it.  But, people using technology is how it actually gets done.  Without the people – nothing gets done.

One of my favorite leaders was LTC Belick.  He was a Vietnam War veteran and was my second commander for me when I was on Active Duty in the Army.  His smile came easily and his command presence was remarkable.  He could walk into a room and everyone would naturally both notice him and stand at attention.  He was both likable – and respected.  He was so good at listening – in an active way – so that other’s felt heard.  I literally wanted to earn his respect.  He knew how to make a connection with those he led.

I learned a lot from LTC Belick.  I learned the power of connection. I learned how to create a connection with those I lead and those I work with.  It has served me well all these years later.  One thing I know for sure.  You cannot learn how to connect from a book.  You need to see it in action and experience it as a person.  It is a total body experience.

I suggest you seek out experiences of great “connectors.”  These are the people whom connect at a deep level with others.  They listen and tell stories that are often deep and meaningful. They are moved by the struggles of others and the triumphs of those around them.  They are fully present.  You seem like the only person alive at that moment when you are with them.

My one regret with LTC Belick was that I asked to move to another role after only a year with him.  I was in a hurry back then to advance.  I later realized what a mistake I had made.  My next commanding officer was a good leader as well.  However, it is hard to replace a legend.  It taught me a valuable lesson – count your blessings when you have a leader you love and respect.  Not everyone can have that sense of depth and success.  When you recognize it – acknowledge it and savor it.  They can be part of your most memorable experiences.

So, are you making connections with those you lead or work with?  Do they trust you and will they go the extra mile for you?  And, how do you get people to go the distance?  These are all important questions that leaders and teammates need to ask themselves.