Leadership

#1 NY Times bestselling author, Keith Ferrazzi on his latest book, Competing in the New World of Work

August 10, 2022

#1 NY Times bestselling author, Keith Ferrazzi on his latest book, Competing in the New World of Work

Keith Ferrazzi

Best Selling Author & Entrepreneur

While others talk about going back to work, Keith Ferrazzi is all about going forward—rethinking how we meet and connect.

On this episode of the Walker Webcast, Willy talks to Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and Competing in the New World of Work, on topics such as leading through vulnerability, creating environments where employees feel safe to be themselves, and rethinking how we meet and connect, online and off. 

The conversation starts off deep with reflections on fear, shame, and insecurity. Keith shares that he felt all of these growing up, and they motivated him to become “big and grandiose,” in his words. He says he’s still dealing with his insecurities but that he hasn’t gotten rid of them. Instead, he’s using them to commit to being more grounded and elevated. 

The conversation then shifts to the ecosystem of relationships that Keith uses in his coaching and that he details in his books. Build relationships from a place of generosity and service, Keith advises. This opens doors. Then follow up with real intimacy and vulnerability, the foundation of “co-elevating relationships” where teams own each other’s successes, accountability, and energy. 

Candor makes it all possible, he says. But on a scale of 5, today’s teams average a score of 2.4, which Keith calls “hugely unacceptable.” Without the ability to be open and honest with those you work with, a company will never reach true success, he says. 

Keith talks about how he helps executive teams achieve this necessary candor and vulnerability through hosting a signature “intimacy dinner.” At these events, he shares a story of his own vulnerability to encourage other participants to open up. 

During the pandemic, leaders regularly opened up and revealed themselves to be vulnerable. But practices in both physical and virtual environments tend to become lazy, Keith explains. Leaders need to be much more proactive about coaching their teams. This is particularly important when working virtually when you don’t have that daily one-on-one interaction. 

Willy and Keith then talk about ways to transform team meetings. Breakout rooms, for instance, can foster intimacy when collaborating by video. Companies can also shift the focus of meetings themselves so they’re no longer employees’ primary form of collaboration. 

In face-to-face interactions, Keith says, forget about the agenda and tune into the emotional. And if you’re angry or frustrated with somebody, invite them to dinner. That being said, when you want broad inclusivity and innovation, Keith recommends asynchronous collaboration—working on a project without communicating in real time. 

Keith and Willy also talk about diversity and inclusion. These are direct links to innovation and creativity, and companies must create safe environments where employees, especially minorities, feel free to be themselves. Willy shares the four important elements of psychological safety, and the conversation also touches upon trauma—how it inhibits vulnerability and makes people afraid of connection. 

Looking ahead at the new world of work, Keith shares two thoughts he wants to leave listeners with about meetings: First, stop thinking of them as synonymous with collaboration. Second, shift the social construct. 


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