Learning Lab: Colleague Conversations

2 min. read

It’s easy to blow by building relationships with people you interact with routinely, but building bridges and credibility with these people is ESSENTIAL.

Note, however, that it’s critical to develop trust and credibility in a relationship before going too deep in conversations. If you’re uncertain, start out with a focus on work-related conversations with colleagues in the critical path of your job – meaning the people with whom you interact routinely.


The key to building relationships is practicing listening skills. Often it’s about accomplishing work. Why not engage in a conversation like:

1. How do you think this project is going?

2. What do you think is working well? What should we need to change?

3. Here’s what I’ve observed. What are your thoughts?

These can be 5-minute discussions. Over Zoom. Over coffee. Easy, and non-judgmental. You ask questions. You listen. You learn. You appreciate the other person’s perspective. This information is priceless to understanding more about this person and what’s most important to them. 


If you have the proper intent, you’ll build significant trust and credibility. If you use this information for your sole personal gain, all bets are off and it’s guaranteed you’ll destroy the connection, future opportunities, and definitely your credibility. (Read more about preventing the destruction of your credibility here)

🏃🏽‍♀️ Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Start here and know future experiments to come that are focused on connecting with Influencers in the organization and/or other people inside and outside the organization that can be helpful to you in your career development.

Follow along here for weekly experiments & career development support.

Or get the book to dive deeper right off the bat!

About the Ladderburner Learning Lab:
In Burn Ladders. Build Bridges. Pursuing Work with Meaning + Purpose, Patterson shares an essential formula for Ladderburners in pursuit of more at work. Chapter 7 dives into two of those skillsets – how to build a base of competence and credibility. This can be done through the Learning Lab – an approach to learning as much as you can about your job, the people around you, what success looks like, and how things really work inside the workplace. Learn more about the Ladderburner Learning Lab.