To B2B or not B2B, that is the question…

…of which much has been written regarding business to business, yet for the most important B2B, not so much.  

Years ago Gallup was commissioned to research and identify the root metric driving KPIs and outcomes.   What Gallup discovered is at the core it’s all about the level of engagement, whether it’s a workplace or a church —  and only 28% are engaged, while 55% are disengaged, and 17% are disengaged.

If you follow this BTL blog, you’ve read Toto’s (aka Chet’s) writing  on our 2 deepest needs as humans, which are to Be-come and to Be-long.   We all yearn deeply to become the distinct, mature, authentic version of ourselves as part of something way bigger than ourselves.  And we all yearn deeply to belong, to at least a few.

No doubt, these two deepest needs have everything to do with how engaged we are.

And I believe like Toto wrote, “If all of us deeply desire to become and belong, doesn’t it make sense we all come from a creator who designed such desires? I mean come on man, that’s a hell of a coincidence, isn’t it?”   So we took this one up at Practice 368 from the big book last Wednesday morning.  I asked dozens of men young and old to write from their own experience, “what is at the ROOT when you find yourself disengaged — i.e. checked out; going through the motions; doing enough not to get fired — present in body but not in spirit?”

After we practiced speaking and listening at our tables BTL-style, which starts off like a library as everybody gets their turn to speak or pass, then like a dull playground roar as everybody pops curious questions to each other — I asked for a volunteer to pop up and broadcast what they learned.   To my pleasant surprise a newbie jumped up, blurted out “it’s when I fail to lead myself,” and then NOT to my surprise, jumped right back into his seat.

I asked everyone, “what just happened?”   From the other side of the room, Andy made a joke which rippled through the room.   You see — not much has really changed since our playground days, has it?    So I asked Andy to stand up, something I couldn’t/wouldn’t have done just a year ago, because Andy was a man battling deep shame.  Andy had things to offer — his friends would tell me to call on him — but he wasn’t ready.   Today he was more than ready.  I asked Andy to tell us what happened – “why did the new kid bolt up and down so quick like that?   You got any experience with that?”    Andy nailed it, “It’s because he wasn’t sure if what he had to say was any good.”

I and-ed Andy.  “That’s right.”  And then I challenged the playground to THINK deeper —  “At the root of that, what’s going on — I mean, when Andy wouldn’t speak up for years here, what was he believing?”

A long silence.

So I asked the new kid to tell us more about why he sat down so fast.  “I wasn’t sure it was my place to speak.”

Which I translated for everybody, “At the root, he wasn’t sure if he BELONGED.”

When I asked Andy and the group why they come back week after week, they spoke as one – “we know we belong.”

You see the order MATTERS.  “To Be-come to Be-long, or Be-long to Be-come, that is the question.”   Get the B2B order right.   It’s huge.

Most men fail to become a shadow of what they can be because in a room of other men or before God, they feel like an imposter, a hypocrite, a fake.   When you feel you must become in order to belong, your identity is constantly on the line.   When you believe you are unconditionally LOVED by the one who created you (which often takes experiencing it from others who do first), the most important belonging is no longer in question and you are free to become.   No longer a lone, but on a journey to become all-one, distinct and deeply connected with others on the same journey.

Leaders are believers, and leaders are connectors.  It takes both for your team to become fully engaged.  This is why we build the leader first, and then why we practice with the leader and the team.   Deliberately.  Intentionally.  Regularly.

Together we transform.   ALWAYS together.


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