I was listening to the radio on the way home from work the other day and my ears perked up as I heard Doug Conant speak about his book TouchPoints that he co-authored with Mette Norgaard. Conant described himself as an introvert on this radio program, which of course grabbed my attention. Conant has had many, many years of high level leadership positions, including former president, CEO, and director of the Campbell Soup Company, among many others.
I heard Conant on this radio show talk about being “tough-minded with standards” and “tender-hearted with people.” This describes me well. I do have tough standards, but one of my introvert abilities is to see the unique strengths in others as well as their weaknesses. Being able to see this in people helps me to be more patient and understanding as people strive to be their best.
Of course, I ran right out and picked up a copy of TouchPoints, which I’ve just begun reading. In this book, Conant and Norgaard discuss how leaders are constantly faced with interruptions and have a choice how to view these interruptions. The authors describe these TouchPoints – the contacts we have with others – as follows:
“Every TouchPoint is spring-loaded with possibilities. Each one can build – or break – a relationship. Even a brief interaction can change the way people think about themselves, their leaders, and their future.“
Just today, I experienced several of these interruptions or opportunities. In the midst of a very busy day, I certainly could have done without the interruptions, but I chose to see how I could help those that were coming to me. I did not get my all work done for the day, but I think taking the time to foster these relationships was worth it. I will see if I can go a little earlier tomorrow.