Nothing can slingshot a business further into a profitable future faster than building deep, meaningful relationships. Whether you are a start up or have been cranking at it for five or more years, investing into your relationships as much as you do your P&L can provide more return on your time investment than most business owners realize.
It is too easy to get caught up in the grind.
We like to act like being "busy" is such a time suck, but the truth is, most business owners and entrepreneurs would prefer the busy, hair on fire lifestyle as opposed to stopping to strategically think about how to leverage their existing relationships and cultivate new ones.
Well, it turns out that investing into relationships doesn't return immediate results like we, Americans, are so used to and spoiled by.
Putting time and effort into a worthy relationship has more commonalities with planting a fruit tree and caring for it until it is mature enough to produce than simple, quick result tasks such as Facebook likes, 3 shots of tequila, or stuffing your face with dessert.
Yet, for the business owners and executives who respect the value of deep relationships, most don't know how to effectively grow them or grade their existing ones.
Here are our Top 6 ways to foster or gauge meaningful relationships with others.
1. Set Crazy Ambitious Goals And Surround Yourself With People Who Do The Same
There is something strangely different about people who set extremely ambitious goals. They aren't like most commoners. They place emphasis on self-mastery. But then again, that is probably why you are reading this blog and not continuing to scroll your Facebook feed looking for the next Fourth of July blooper caught on video... #backupTerry!
But the similarity that you will find in these types of people is that they will also do whatever they can to help support others with wildly ambitious goals as well.
You may not be able to accomplish your large goals alone, but the synergistic effect that occurs when two of these types of people begin helping one another is priceless. Don't miss out on these types of relationships.
2. Look For The Lessons To Be Learned In Each Interaction
When spending time with folks that you know will benefit both of you in the long run, remember to always be willing to ask them some tough questions about their perspectives and yourself. You can't see an outsider's perspective on your life and your business choices.
Yet, one of the most valuable things that you can do for yourself and your business is listen to their honest, yet sometimes harsh, feedback.
Don't take it personally.
- Implement the gems
- Toss the rest in your mental trashcan.
Then prepare for the next interaction between you two while focusing on offering them the same value that they are investing into you.
3. Focus On The Process, Not What You Will Get In Return
Now this may seem contradictory to number two above, but bear with us.
If you are going into conversations and meetings seeking only what you can get from them, then you are what Adam Grant refers to as "A Taker".
What you want to be is a "Giver".
In one of his recent articles, Adam Grant discusses a study that looked at a group of engineers, salesmen, and medical students and classified their behaviors according to givers and takers.
Turns out, the engineers with the highest productivity and fewest mistakes were those who did more favors for colleagues than they received. Engineers who took at least as much as they gave were more likely to have average results; the givers went to the extremes. The same pattern emerged in medicine and sales: the highest achievers were those most driven to help others.
4. Expect To Get Uncomfortable, Expand, And Adapt
Similar to number 2 here as well, be prepared to accept tough feedback from deep relationships. If you can't decenter enough to accept critiques from those who actually want you to succeed, then you are more of the problem than you are the solution.
Further, don't just be willing to accept this harsh feedback, high performers actually seek it and feel cheated if others don't provide it to them.
Sometimes our own mirrors are a bit hazy. We, and our businesses, need this type of feedback in order to change what is needed and come back stronger.
5. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
This one is simple. You cannot claim that the majority of your success is from your hard work alone.
If you take enough time and really ruminate on the past 10-15 years of your schooling and career, there are probably a handful of people you can recall that either believed in you or saw something in you that you were either unaware of or neglectful towards about yourself.
We continue to become great in spite of our past and our setbacks, not because of them.
Remember to thank those people who are providing support for you now as well as thanking the ones who altruistically helped create the essential leader that you are today.
6. Ask 4 Questions About Them To Every 1 Thing You Say About Yourself
Finally, if you are coming into new relationships or really looking to improve your existing ones, you cannot possibly learn everything that you need to while making statements and "knowing" everything that is being said in the conversation.
We all remember the saying: "God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason."
Well, this is sort of like that except you should be asking questions four times more than you are making statements.
Humility and learning are both great attributes of leadership.
Knowing, Hubris, and Condescending Acknowledgment won't get you very far.
Be sincere; Be curious!
Want to learn more about how to leverage relationships in the workplace?
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