When I took piano lessons as a child, I remember learning how to play a cadence. It was a two-chord ending that gave a sense of finality to a piece. I loved the way it sounded — it reminded me of saying, “Ta Da!” at the end.
This past weekend I attended the quarterly gathering of Thought Leaders Business School. One of my favourite features of that event is the Genius Bar, where successful, experienced people offer mini coaching sessions one-on-one and others can listen in. Several of those conversations left me highly motivated this time around, and I realized they had something in common. In each case, the person added a tag at the end that required action on my part and commitment on theirs.
That’s a potent combination. They didn’t just send me off with work to do. They inserted themselves into my plan, demonstrating that they were willing to invest in my future success. Here are a few examples:
Emma McQueen had just completed a remarkable sales quarter. She said to me, “Calculate the sales figure you’re going after between now and February. Then send it to me.” I did, and her response back said, “I’m cheerleading you all the way! Reach out and let’s do this!!!” Do you hear the “we” in that?
Kieran Flanagan has an incredible pedigree in branding and creativity. Her prompting helped me land on the title of my last book, Sightline. This weekend she said, “I like your idea for a new book title, but the visual design will be important to convey the meaning accurately. Send it to me when you have it mocked up and I’ll give you some feedback.”
Dr. Richard Hodge is a leadership expert who focuses on stewardship of the future. He gave me a great idea, then said, “I’m going to try it too. You tag me in your posts and I’ll tag you in mine, so we can hold each other accountable for getting this done in December.”
There’s a powerful lesson in accountability here. These coaches offered me a practical next step to try. But they went one step further. Despite not knowing me well, each of these rock stars was willing to keep the relationship going in order to increase the likelihood of my success. Am I more likely to get this work done as a result? You bet!
A practical next step.
Generosity with expertise.
An invitation to accountability.
A willingness to keeping each other company on a shared journey.
Quick action on advice received.
Now there is a satisfying cadence on the end of a conversation. But my piece doesn’t end there, does it? And that’s exactly the point.
May the tags at the end of our conversations spur others into action today and remind them they aren’t alone.