Be an Opportunity-Maker

We have read and hear a lot of times that “the only constant is change”, but there’s another constant: opportunity.

More than money, smarts or attractiveness, your key to being an opportunity-maker is your capacity to cultivate strong relationships with diverse, complementary and often unexpected individuals.

To stay relevant in a changing world, you must widen your circle, deepen your connections and draw on commonalities, the “sweet spots.” There are some traits of opportunity-makers:

A specific purpose. You are better than anybody else at something. Know what that is and use concrete terms to describe your priorities — what you want or are advocating. When you are clear are about your purpose, you are more grounded and less reactive. Clarity creates opportunities for serendipity.

An effective communication style. The secret to communicating well is to use fewer, well-chosen words. Express yourself in simple words and repeat them often.

A talent for listening. Be a great listener. When you first meet and re-meet people, be present and allow the person to feel heard. The other person is more likely to stay engaged longer if they feel welcome, safe and comfortable.

An ability to recognize and synthesize. Look for patterns among individual interests to find the groove of the group. Point out the commonality. Being the synthesizer of the group keeps you at the center. Opportunity-makers are the glue that holds a group together.

A master of triangle talk: You+Us+Me. Create a sweet spot of mutuality by speaking to the other person’s interest first (you), followed by how the topic is a shared interest (us), and then get around to how it relates to your own interests (me).

An optimizer of collective performance. Everyone wants to be able to use their best talents. Know your key talent and look for ways to leverage more value and visibility by combining it with the talents of others. Cultivate unexpected allies with complementary talents and draw those people together around sweet spots.

Summing-up: Opportunity-makers are pattern-seekers who deftly build connections around mutual interests. They solve problems and seize opportunities faster and better because they learn to attract smarter support sooner. They move in many circles.

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