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In Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi explained how to create an extensive community of contacts. Now, in WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK, Ferrazzi focuses on the necessity of forming ...
In Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi explained how to create an extensive community of contacts. Now, in WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK, Ferrazzi focuses on the necessity of forming even deeper bonds with a few key people who can act as counselors, ombudsmen and advisors in our careers, providing us with candid feedback and support to help guide us in our day-to-day actions and long-term goals.
As Ferrazzi says, “When we really need to push ourselves to reach our full potential, to be great, it’s not enough to have a database filled with business connections. Once I lined up an ironclad team of deeply trusted advisors, success came quickly. I tripled my earnings at my company. Every day I wake up knowing that caring, trustworthy people are watching out for me. Don’t wait for these guardian angels to magically appear in your life. It’s up to each of us to create these relationships. And this book will show you how.”
From the Compact Disc edition.
Lose Weight, Get Rich, and Change the World
Maybe that sounds like the dubious title of some shameless self-help book, but it's pretty much the most accurate way to describe the life of Jean Nidetch. Jean was a plus-sized housewife who enlisted her friends to help her stay on a diet. What she ultimately accomplished is remarkable. But how she accomplished it is something every single one of us needs to understand.
Jean was overweight. She was overweight as a child, she was overweight in high school, and despite endless diet regimens, her waistline kept expanding throughout her twenties and thirties. Eventually, this five-foot-seven-inch woman weighed 214 pounds, wore a size 44 dress, and fit the medical definition of "obese." Jean tried diets and pills that promised to take off pounds, but she always gained back the weight she lost.
In 1961, at age thirty-eight, Jean started a diet sponsored by the New York City Department of Health. After ten weeks she was twenty pounds lighter, but starting to lose motivation. She realized that what she needed was someone to talk to for some support.
Her inspiration: Since she couldn't get her pals to make the trek with her to Manhattan to sign up for the official health department regimen, she brought the "science" of the program to their living rooms in Queens. Jean and her friends would all lose weight together. Out of those first meetings grew Weight Watchers, today widely recognized as one of the most effective weight-loss programs in the world. Nidetch's idea was simple: Losing weight requires a combination of dieting and peer support. She held weekly meetings with weight check-ins and goal setting to promote accountability, coupled with honest, supportive conversation about the struggles, setbacks, and victories of losing weight.
Eventually, Nidetch, who'd lost seventy-two pounds, rented office space and started leading groups all across New York City. In 1963 she incorporated. The company went public in 1968 and was sold to H. J. Heinz in 1978. (In 1999, Weight Watchers was again resold, to a unit of the company Artal Luxembourg.) As of 2007, Weight Watchers International had retail sales of over $4 billion from licensees and franchisees, membership fees, exercise programs, cookbooks, portion-controlled food products, and a magazine. Nidetch retired in 1984, leaving behind a legacy that has saved the lives of literally millions of men and women. As the company's current CEO, Dave Kirchhoff, notes, "Though the science of weight loss has evolved over the years, the core of Jean's program--support and accountability--has remained a constant."
What's so extraordinary about all that? Jean just wanted to get skinny, but through an inner circle of friends offering expertise, wisdom, honesty, and support she achieved far more than she ever imagined possible. Jean discovered what the great leaders and peak performers throughout history have always known: Exceptional achievement in work and life is a peer-to-peer collaborative process.
Behind every great leader, at the base of every great tale of success, you will find an indispensable circle of trusted advisors, mentors, and colleagues. These groups come in all forms and sizes and can be found at every level and in nearly all spheres of both professional and personal life, but what they all have in common is a unique kind of connection with each other that I've come to call lifeline relationships.
These relationships are, quite literally, why some people succeed far more than others. In Who's Got Your Back, I want to give you a practical guide to building an inner circle of lifeline relationships so...