Some principles remain true down through the ages. Whether we cook over a fire or push a button on the microwave, the power of relationships is one of those principles. When fully understood, creating effective reflationships will open unimaginable doors for you.
Now I am not talking about networking as we understand that term today. I am talking about a delicate balance that requires extra effort to establish and maintain. Building relationships really is the key to your future success and prosperity.
Building solid relationships that stand the test of time is a necessity for several reasons. For example, in a group or organization, the success of each person depends on how efficient and effective the relationships within that group or organization function and how each relationship relates to the management of the organization.
The person who understands how to build and maintain effective relationships is the person who could run the organization one day in the near future.
On the one hand, being part of a group or organization that has not established solid relationships among its members can really be very frustrating. On the other hand, an effective group or organization may ask so much of their members, that sometimes the members would have no life outside the organization because they are forced to sacrifice all other aspects of their life just to meet deadlines. Organizations or groups with these kinds of scenarios are disfunctional and relationships can be stressed to the point of disintegration.
One only needs to watch The Apprentice with Donald Trump or some of the other reality shows for some good tips on how relationships should and should not function.
Society is defined as a web of relationships, which requires all parties to work and contribute their share in order to achieve a common goal. It’s the time tested – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts.” Creating relationships that are mutually beneficial, where cooperation and respect are required of both parties, will create a success environment that, eventually, will impact society for better or worse. Criminal enterprises are based largely on relationship as are athletic teams. One creates good, one does not but, in both, each member works for the good of the whole and towards achieving a common goal that will benefit all members of the group. This can only be achieved with effective and efficient relationships.
To get what you want you must first understand the needs of the other party to be in a position to craft an effective and efficient relationship. What is the easiest way to understand what is important to another party? Ask them what they want and listen to what they have to say. When the other party sees that you really want to know, they will give you all the information that you need to determine how you can create a solution that is beneficial to you as well as them.
Effective and efficient relationships require parties to openly and clearly express what they need and want out of forging the relationship. Never assume that the other party understands our needs and will just give us what we need, when we need it, without asking for it. You must not also assume that you know their needs lest you give up something you will later regret giving. It is a step by step process. The first step is to ask what they need and to make sure the other party knows exactly what you need by telling them so.
A key component to a successful relationship is mutual respect. This is grown through the process of open communication. We can show respect just by listening to the other party and by trying sincerely to understand how they think. A good tool is to listen first and summarize what they tell you by saying something like – “Let me make sure I have this straight. Are you saying you need me to…….?” Keep asking and listening and summarizing until you have a solid understanding of what the other party needs. By the same token, use this tool to clearly articulate your needs by saying something like – “So, if I can do…….. for you, you can do …………..for me, right?”
Asking, listening, and summarizing will ensure there are no misunderstandings later and will start laying the foundation of respect on which you will begin building the relationship. If both parties carry out their parts of the bargain, the relationship can last for years and continue to provide benefits to both parties.
Another key area in forming an effective relationship is to tackle areas of disagreement openly. Disagreements between parties can be quite interesting. When five people see the same accident there will likely be five different versions told to the investigators. Each person sees the situation from their own perspective. If you can can see past the differences you are the one who can create a win-win solution for both parties.
When you acknowledge that the relationship is more important that the areas of disagreement, be the one to exert more time, effort and energy to understand the other party’s problem areas and try to get it out of the way. Even if you fail, it demonstrates to the other party that you really want to establish a long term relationship that will be mutually beneficial.
Another key is to create an atmosphere that is conducive to informal discussions. This allows both parties to realx and bring out issues and concerns comfortably. Whay are so many business deals made on the golf course do you imagine?
When an informal location is not possible, develop an informal atmosphere right where you are. If in an office, make sure there are no obstacles like a desk or table between you and the other party. The key is making the whole process less threatening so the other party will express their feelings as if they are having an informal chat with a friend.
Relationships are important to anyone, addressing issues and problems right away is a must to further improve the relationship. Think long term in creating relationships. I have relationships that go back 20 years and more. These are people whom I may only talk with once a year but who are as close as the telephone and willing do me a favor without the expectation of anything in return because I will do the same for them when they need help.
That’s what relationships are for.
Jim De Santis