By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
The cultural and ethnic diversity that is America shows up throughout the workplace. So, it’s no surprise if you should see it in your practice. The smart leader takes the initiative in developing both the one-on-one, and group, relationships that can help forge a strong team.
We can all use some help in connecting with someone with whom we might have little in common. One place to start is with a copy of The Art of Connecting.
The authors, Claire Raines and Lara Ewing, look like they might be biting off more than they can chew with their subtitle: How to Overcome Differences, Build Rapport, and Communicate Effectively with Anyone. All too quickly, the book seems to bog down under the weight of the many anecdotes that are used to illustrate the points the authors want to make.
Chapters titled The Core Principles, Pathways to Connection, Points of View, and Working With Differences in Groups all follow this model. For those readers who find themselves in need of rescuing from this approach, there are “at a glance” reviews at the close of each chapter.
Finally, in a chapter titled Twenty Questions, the rubber meets the road. Raines and Ewing draw on their combined years of speaking and consulting to respond to real-life scenarios that allow them to drill deeper into the material that seemed such a slog, earlier. You can see how those “principles”, “pathways” and “points of view” play out in their answers. It’s not hard to imagine yourself in several of the scenarios.
Case studies are de rigueur for a volume like this. The authors do something a different with theirs, however, by using the case study as a jumping off point for a bit of self-study designed to enable you to try your own hand at coaching the individual whose story is being told.
The book concludes with a handy chapter of practical learning activities you can use in team-building or other workshops. Some can easily be adapted for e-learning; some can be run with large groups; others involve communication in pairs.
After slogging through the first several chapters, we were prepared not to recommend this book. It was the last 30% that changed our mind. It’s a worthwhile addition to your library.
The Art of Connecting is published by AMACOM, the American Management Association imprint, and is available through most on-line booksellers.