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The Secret to Leading Without Authority

The author of Never Eat Alone and Who's Got Your Back talks about his new book and strategies for elevating collaborative teams.

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Keith Ferrazzi is the founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a Los Angeles-based research and consulting business, and author of the bestselling books Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back? Ferrazzi talks with #ThePlaybook host David Meltzer about his new book Leading Without Authority and shares strategies for “co-elevating” teams.

Ferrazzi talks about typical team dynamics which generally consist of groups of siloed individuals with some overlap and who occasionally collaborate — but are usually simply coexisting. Leaders, then, assume responsibility and play whack-a-mole to address challenges. But to succeed, Ferrazzi explains, leaders should disperse responsibility, moving it from themselves and onto the team. Team members that lift each other up and care about each other succeed together. 

This “co-elevation” of teams involves changed behaviors and mindsets, but acting your way into a new way of thinking is more effective than thinking your way into a new way of acting, Ferrazzi says.

Ferrazzi suggests shifting to co-elevation by adopting the eight attributes of high-performing teams he details in his new book. Among them: 

  • Empathy, by starting meetings with “sweet and sour,” in which each team member discloses how they’re doing, to nurture the team’s growth in serving, sharing and caring
  • Courage and candor, for which Ferrazzi advises leaders to use breakout sessions of only three team members each during larger virtual meetings to provide psychological safety and spur innovation
  • Celebration and praise, adopting a weekly meeting agenda item for each team member to identify someone within the company for whom they are grateful 

Ferrazzi also talks about the current remote work environment as an opportunity to reboot and “recontract” teams, considering this as a time not to go back to work, but to go forward to work with a commitment to collaboration and co-creation.

Related: Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap

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