Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Vital Friends

Stumbled across a podcast interview of author Tom Rath whose second book, Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without, is out. The podcast is available courtesy of 800-CEO-Read and is hosted on Odeo.

The Vital Friends book has a companion site which lists the 8 roles that different friends fulfill in our lives -- and emphasizes that expecting one single person to fulfill all 8 roles is a guaranteed recipe for a disastrous relationship.

The roles are (see Vital Friends site for full descriptions):

  • Builder. Motivators. They invest in your development and genuinely want you to succeed.
  • Companion. Always there for you, whatever the circumstances.
  • Connector. Bridge-builders who get to know you -- and then connect you to others.
  • Collaborator. Friend with similar interests; you share a passion.
  • Energizer. Your fun friends. You have more positive moments when you are with these friends.
  • Mind Opener. Friends who expand your horizons with new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people.
  • Navigator. Friends who give you sage advice. You go to them whenever you need guidance, and they talk through the "pros" and "cons" with you until you find an answer.
  • Champion. Champions stand up for you, and defend you until the end.
I find the concept behind the book interesting (although I haven't actually read the book yet) and I am seriously tempted to buy a copy because it's a drill-down on yet another Gallup book that I had read a few years ago, entitled First, Break all the Rules. That book forever changed the way I think of my role as a manager (but I won't go into why for now since that's a subject for another post. hehe!).

Anyway, I'm glad that I can actually name at least one person in my life for each of the above roles, with the possible exception of the Connector role... which I guess isn't that surprising since I've yet to master the fine art of networking.