Relationships matter. A lot. In all aspects of our lives. Relationships are the connective tissue, and create the fabric of our existence. And considering the journey all of us have been on over the last 12 months, I have been thinking a lot lately about relationships.
In our work lives, we have to do a lot of things really well in order to succeed. You can create the list of requirements just as well and as easily as I can. But while what you make or provide to your marketplace is incredibly important, the relationships that you have within your marketplace are the foundation upon which your business is built.
When you have strong relationships with your clients or customers, they will seek you out and look for additional ways to work with you. They will refer you to other people and organizations. They will give you the benefit of the doubt when something goes wrong.
When you have strong relationships with your suppliers and vendors, they will treat your business with respect, and will realize that what they sell or supply to you is critical to YOUR relationships with YOUR clients or customers. They will do their best to make you look good, and treat you with respect.
When you have strong relationships with your colleagues, you will pull for each other, support each other, cheer for each other, back each other up, and give each other the benefit of the doubt when something goes wrong.
You get the idea… there are many kinds of relationships that matter in the workplace, and each of them is a critical component to the web of our business. Each of them needs to be developed, nurtured, and respected. This requires time, effort, and care. And while I cannot quantify what the payoff from this investment will be, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the payoff is there, it is significant, and it will come to you when you need it most.
I will openly acknowledge that the darkness of 2020 is not entirely over… it seems like we are in that early pre-dawn phase, where the night is almost over, and there is still some night left. But we can see the first hints of daybreak on the horizon. The hope of daytime is right there… we can start to see it, and it is getting brighter every second.
So while it might be a little early to be doing too much retrospective on what we learned during the last twelve months, it is never too early to draw out the lessons of strong relationships. Because no matter what life is like at any moment, there is always something to celebrate about strong relationships. There is always value in prioritizing the people in your life.
I am not at all embarrassed to acknowledge that in the early parts of the health crisis, my company was knocked on its heels. Like so many others, we were caught off guard, and were forced to deal with a reality that was frightening and existential. But we survived, and eventually, thrived. We are a better firm today than we were at the beginning of the health crisis. And I can think of so many examples over the last twelve months where the strength of our relationships got us through. It would inappropriate to share those details here, but suffice to say that we are humbled by the generosity shown to us by many vendors, clients, partners, our landlord… there are many. And I am eternally grateful for the many strong relationships that The Latimer Group enjoys.
But most of all, I am grateful for my colleagues. Because while our relationships with our clients will ultimately determine our success, the relationships we have with our colleagues are the foundation upon which business is built. You can’t have truly functional and valuable relationships with people outside your organization, if the relationships inside your organization are not rock solid. In other words, you cannot build something functional upon something that is dysfunctional. Pick your metaphor… you can put the best roof, windows and exterior on a house, but if the foundation is unstable, the house won’t stand the test of time… you can choose the most beautiful flowers for your garden, but if the soil is not well tended and nourished, the flowers won’t bloom the way you want them to. So too with our business. Ultimately the relationships with people outside our organization will determine success or failure. But our chances for success go up dramatically if our business is built upon a strong internal foundation.
Relationships matter. A lot. Give them the time, the effort, and the respect they require. You will never, ever regret it.
Have a great day. Dawn is coming soon.
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