Keith Ferrazzi’s Who’s Got Your Back covers a few main areas, but mostly emphasises on the need for us to have an inner circle of trusted people. These are your mentors, coaches, and confidants who will only want the best for you, and can provide you with accountability and perspective, the two things that you can’t get if you are by yourself.
He covers four main mindsets that are necessary for the cultivation of these relationships, and will be vital for your growth as well.
1. Generosity: The selfless wanting to help others, without expecting any benefits in return. Getting another person to help you, Ferrazzi claims, is something that is easily achieved, because most people will gladly extend their help and offer their advice (reasonably speaking).
2. Vulnerability: The next step to being able to grow, is to be able to listen to the people in your inner circle. This means listening to the criticisms, and not just the compliments. To do so, you must first be willing to be vulnerable.
3. Candor: White-washing and covering up the truth in order to “be the nice guy” can be counter-productive because then nobody will get feedback and be able to change. Candor is necessary because you need honesty and be able to speak the truth, and cultivate this environment among your inner circle.
4. Accountability: Part of your growth will be attributed to having people whom you are accountable for, or whom are accountable for you and your goals. Telling your confidants and mentors, and holding yourself to the promises that you make, will allow you to grow even faster.
Ferrazi talks a lot about the “long, slow dinner” – or basically a time-slot (it doesn’t have to be dinner) where you can meet up with someone else, and be able to speak your minds in a comfortable and safe environment. Find out things that are truly troubling them, or things that they want to see happening in their professional lives, and how you can help them with these things. Not how they can help you, but how you can help them.
Accountability is a big theme of Who’s Got Your Back, and to have it, you need to be open, honest, and receptive. Being right and winning arguments isn’t important, so you need to understand that when you get feedback from others, it’s not an argument but a chance to improve yourself.
By being able to ask for help, you’ve achieved the very first step. Next, you will need to be able to open enough to receive feedback in a constructive and positive manner, and then act upon it. In this manner, you can get valuable perspective on how you are doing things, and understand better how you can grow.