Yesterday I posted Part I of my interview with Dr. Steve Lurie. Today, we continue the interview and discuss whether the skills for career success can be learned:

Can those skills (for career success) be learned?

Yes. But for some reason, employees typically receive relationship skill training much later in their careers in management development programs using personality tools, 360 feedback, etc. that help them to see who they are as others see them and make them aware of others styles.

We have found that people are actually ready and able to absorb and apply these insights and tools as early as high school. In fact readers tell us that the most engaging and useful part of the book is about how to use Connecting Style awareness for better relationship building.

You’ve referred to "Connecting Styles." What does that mean? 

Study after study shows that what differentiates the best performers from the rest is not subject matter expertise – the what — but the quality of the connections professionals form with clients and colleagues.

The most powerful connections are formed by those who factor in and respect the learning, communication and interpersonal preferences of the person they are dealing with – and understand their own style and how they are likely to be perceived by others.

While every human being has a unique connecting style fingerprint, we know that people fall into four basic “connecting styles” based on how emotionally and how forcefully they connect:

From this model we can generate a simple roadmap for engaging others based on their connecting style.

For example, analyticals respond best when working within a predictable process that gives them time to prepare in advance, spells out a plan, defines roles, and does not rush them toward a decision. Direct expression of anger, frustration, resentment, whether directed at them or others, makes them uncomfortable and they disengage.

Energizers on the other hand, engage when given the opportunity to express their feelings and ideas and get very impatient when sticking too tightly to process and rules. Once a person understands their own connecting style and how to assess style in others, they can apply these insights with supervisees, supervisors, clients, adversaries, judges, partners, etc. for greater influence and more trusting relationships.

Continue Reading Five Questions with…Dr. Steven Lurie on “Connecting Styles” – Part II

Bringing back a recurring feature of the blog, today and tomorrow will feature an interview with Dr. Steven Lurie who heads Lurie Executive Development and is the author of a recently published book "Handbook for Early Career Success".  You can find his full bio here.

What has fascinated me about Steve is his role as an organizational psychologist.  Over time, he asked hundreds of executives across dozens of organizations not only about the lessons learned from their careers, but specifically, what qualities they see as most critical to early career success. He boiled these down to 8 factors or “Keys to Early Career Success” which he describes in great detail in his book. (You can even view a limited preview of the book here.)

A quick look at these success factors confirms what some of us know from our own experience – Technical-analytical excellence is necessary to getting in the door. But it is the quality of the connections you make with others that leads to being invited to play those higher impact managerial and leadership roles to which many of us aspire.

It’s easy to be jaded about the practical value of these “soft skill” books. Not because they don’t have lots to say, but getting the practical value that employees are looking for is almost impossible given how busy everyone is.

But what’s notable about this book is that it provides a relationship building roadmap with specific rules and tools you can apply to your day-to-day interactions in the workplace and it is written is a style that makes it easily accessible.

The interview with Steve was so enjoyable that I’ve broken up the interview in two parts: 

So Steve, welcome to my blog and thanks for giving us some of your time.

My pleasure Dan, and thanks for having me.

Steve, when you think about the lessons learned and advice you heard across all of these interviews you conducted, was there a “headline message” to entry-level employees?

People who recognize that the path to success is very different in the workplace than in school or and adjust to that reality have a big advantage over people who have no clue about where they are and what is expected. Continue Reading Five Questions with…Dr. Steven Lurie, on the Attributes for Career Success