“Will you be my Valentine?” is an invitation to enter or reaffirm a relationship. In business, we make this sort of invitation frequently; for example, every time we make a job offer.
By extending invitations to the right people, managers can enjoy great success in their careers and make life-changing differences in the lives of their people. Let me explain.
In the late 1970s I was practicing law in Washington, D.C., but I was unfulfilled.
I had absolutely no idea how to go about making a career change, so I went to a career counseling firm. After extensive counseling and introspection, I decided to pursue a career in human resources in the hotel business.
That strategy had one minor drawback. Although I worked for years in a hotel, I never worked in human resources, nor had I ever studied human resources.
Over the course of several months, I asked quite a number of hotel companies to “be my Valentine.” It was not a fun time, and I never did become inured to the rejection.
Eventually, however, someone said, “Yes.” It was Phil Lombardy, Vice President of Human Resources for Hyatt Hotels.
Phil was able to see my potential, and he was not the least put off by my lack of experience. He was willing to give me a chance. It was truly a life-changing event for me.
Here I am 40 years later, still in human resources. Not only did Phil give me that chance, but I learned many things from him which stand me in good stead to this very day. I write this in sincere gratitude.
The best managers are excellent recruiters. They are always on the lookout for good people. They focus on potential rather than experience and education. They cultivate close, personal relationships with their people. And they take great joy in helping each employee grow, not only as professional, but also as person.
To achieve extraordinary success as a manager, make sure you’re asking the right people to be your Valentine.