A friend and colleague visited a couple weeks ago. He invited me to breakfast with another friend of his who happened to be an incredibly successful founder and CEO of a business related to a project of mine. You don’t expect to make such valuable connections. We made a great connection and may find ways to collaborate.
I met the visiting friend in the first place through another guy I didn’t know well, but who suggested we meet. He also put me in touch with my book agent. Agents are notoriously hard to find and create relationships with, especially at the early stage I was at when I met her.
That’s three great connections from one guy. He’s a goose who lays golden eggs.
He’s a goose.
If you don’t value relationships, you might notice his connections didn’t lead to any sales, revenue, deals, or anything that would show on a balance sheet or profit and loss statement. You might not notice what came from him. I used to see that way.
How to handle a goose.
I have several friends and contacts who routinely connect me with people who help me. They tend to do it subtly, as in “Josh, I think you and this other friend could work together.” When a goose suggests an introduction, I don’t ask them to explain. I take their word for it, which I think shows respect.
I do a few other things with geese, besides not second-guessing them.
I don’t only call them when I need something from them. I contact them when I don’t have to, to let them know how things are going.
I tell them how a connection went and thank them for it. Sometimes a connection doesn’t work out. I don’t blame the goose. Nor do I get annoyed at them. There are seven billion people around. I can’t get along with everyone.
I recognize they took a risk introducing me, but also feel emotional reward on seeing it work out.
Know your geese!
Relationships with geese are worth recognizing and cultivating, I’ve found. Sometimes you have to shift your perspective. In my case, I learned to see relationships at the foundation of business, not profit, which is the side-effect.