My Italian readers—my paisanos,  if you will—know what I mean by “simpatico.” To be bookish about it, simpatico conveys mutual and reciprocal positive feeling between two people, and expresses an “immediate alignment and resonance with another person.”

 In other words, simpatico is about an “I get you, you get me” connection, the root of which stems from shared values and deep understanding. As with other multicultural words and concepts, I’m intrigued by the idea of mainstream culture integrating these old-world values into the modern business reality.

With simpatico I’m diving into some important beliefs familiar to me as an Italian American. When I think of simpatico, I realize there simply isn’t a comparable single word in English that captures its essence.

Let’s say I have a strong working relationship with the CEO of a small cause- driven organization, and I appreciate that they practice the values associated with conscientious organizations. A co-worker asks how and I get along with the CEO. I may answer, “we get along great” (too generic), or “our values are aligned” (too corporate), or maybe even “I like his vibes” (too new-agey). Or I can say, “we’re simpatico,” as that meaning resonates on a deep level. People know that we have a trusted relationship based on understanding, high regards and mutual respect.

How can we be more simpatico with coworkers and clients? In other posts I’ve written about listening, respecting, being humble, honoring diversity, and creating opportunities for trust. These same attributes also contribute to being simpatico.

Today I will try to be more simpatico with my colleagues and clients by practicing these five steps:

  1. Listening and looking for common ground between us.
  2. Opening up and sharing a little about myself. (Hopefully they in turn will share something as well. You can’t be simpatico if you know nothing about each other.)
  3. Showing emotion. Simpatico doesn’t happen if the discussion is only about facts and data.
  4. Communicating frequently. This builds a sense of simpatico. (And remember to laugh!)
  5. Sharing successes, challenges and failures alike…in other words, being real, which creates a sense of bonding that leads to simpatico.

Now that you know how to use this word, try it out.  Have you created simpatico with some business relationships this month?

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