Be a brain, then a human
When establishing relationships with new people at the office, a mentor of mine had this advice for me recently...
First prove you’re a brain, then show you’re a human.
In other words—first add value, then show you’re relatable.
My mentor knows me well. Well enough to know this advice would flip the script and force me to approach a common scenario in a different way.
My default is to want to do the opposite—I instinctively want to meet someone first, show my human side and then get to the I-can-add-value-here-too part.
The add value first advice is well suited to establishing working relationship with executives or anyone who is much more senior than you. You’re forced to think carefully about what value you can add and act on it, so you have an easy way to quickly get in front of them.
And when you do get in front of them, your task is twofold—package up your good work in a way that strips out unnecessary detail and respects the other person’s time and, most importantly, show you’re a relatable and likeable human.