In a command and control hierarchy, you can be a jerk. After all, the very nature of the structure requires that people respect the hierarchy in order to keep their jobs. However, the world has changed. The digital world is a connect and collaborate model--which requires a different game plan.

In a connect and collaborate world, one of your most important assets is likeability.

As I've watched the tabloids play out the Jon and Kate drama over the past few weeks, the tide has shifted from Jon as "Bad Dad" to Kate as "Monster." How did that happen?

Likeability isn't about being nice. It is about being relatable. I wonder if Kate had simply broken down and cried on Larry King, if the public wouldn't have "liked" her. A betrayed wife grieving? We can relate to that. A perfect woman who has everything together? We can't.

I talked with a friend about the formula for likeability yesterday. I think it is likeability = empathy + accessibility + vulnerability.

Breaking down the formula...

Empathy - Genuine care for others success. There is nothing more attractive than knowning someone who "gets" you wants to help you.

Accessibility - Busy-ness is often used to generate a sense of importance. This does nothing to attract. People don't want to have to scale another wall be it social strata or scheduling. They are drawn to the path through.

Vulnerability - Vulnerability gives people power to hurt you but it is also the key to deep connection. With that said, don't mistake vulnerability for weakness. Vulnerability is about openness.

In the world we live in it is a far more important formula than polished + perfect = professional. Note that in both formulas being competent is your entry card to even get to play the game.

In a connect and collaborate world people have to like you to want to do business with you. When it hits critical mass, the command/control jerks are going to be sitting at their desks wondering what the heck happened.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall