You’ve probably seen the Capital One commercials that ask, “What’s in your wallet?” Then there were follow-up columns for firefighter and responder safety asking, “Who’s in your wallet,” referring to photos of family members and children which emphasized the importance of returning home safely. For this blog, I want to take a different direction and ask, “Who’s in your phone?”
As we teach in The Privilege of Leadership (TPOL), one of the main characteristics that a good leader must possess is the ability to build relationships. Obviously relationships are important with your followers and with your own leader/boss, but for the purpose of this blog, I mean with your peers and mentors.
Just this past week as we were in Petoskey, Michigan to deliver TPOL, I just happened to think of this subject as I was chatting with one of my mentors and close friends, Chief Rich Marinucci. I’ve never taken it for granted, but I think of how fortunate I am to have some pretty influential individuals in my cell phone that I can call for advice, to debrief, or just to pass time with. Obviously Chief Marinucci is one of those individuals that has had an impact on my career. It means a great deal to me personally when my cell phone lights up with a call from the “Marinooch,” just for him to say hello and do a welfare check. The mark of a great and true friend.
I’m also very fortunate to have Chief Alan “Bruno” Brunacini at a finger tips distance. While I certainly am only one of many who has the Bruno on their phone, it means a great deal when he calls to check on me, to talk about our next Leadership Retreat, or to ask his famous question statements of “what if we did this?” Each time he and I spend time together, I walk away smarter than I was, and he has made it clear that I can call when I need him.
The same can be said for another dear friend Chief Bobby Halton. As in high demand as Chief Halton is, and the many things he is balancing, Chief Halton is always there for me and encourages me to think beyond the norm and push the limit.
While I only mention these three, my phone is filled with so many great friends, colleagues, peers, and individuals who have an impact on who Billy D is. I certainly can’t list them all as this blog is to be short and for those of them who read this, please don’t think I don’t appreciate each and every one of you. And, I need those really close friends like I have with Ron Dennis and Scott Rounds, and family like my mother and Shannon, who help me every day through hurdles and challenges.
The point is that as a leader, you need to be resourceful and be capable of building a network of support. As you move up the leadership pyramid, you need that support to bounce ideas, discuss problems, and seek ideas for solutions. You just can’t do it alone!
However, this isn’t a one way street. You have to make yourself available to be in someone else’s phone as well. You need to be there for them as a sounding board, problem solver, idea generator, or just to care. So, while it’s important to know what and who is in your wallet, look through your phone to see who’s there. Look to see how extensive your network is, and think when was the last time you reached out to check on the same individuals who are there for you. It’s something I want to get better at…