Building strong relationships with your colleagues, stakeholders, partners and customers will heighten your level of engagement with them, and can play an important part in achieving your goals. Creating harmonious partnerships is also extremely satisfying, as it makes your life and work both rewarding and fun.
Great relationships don’t just happen overnight, they progress and grow over time. You get more out of relationships the closer both parties get to each other. Sustainable partnerships and alliances with your stakeholder groups go through three phases:
Seed – The start of a relationship involves getting to know each other. Get the basics right and do the small things that establish fundamental trust. Securing an order with a new customer, for example, means that you deliver on time and provide a service that excels. If you have just secured a new job, be punctual, keen and enthusiastic. Show a willingness to be involved and get stuck in.
Nourish – Extend the relationship by taking greater risks. With your new customer, for example, introduce new products and services. Having settled into the new job, take on more responsibility and be proactive as this shows initiative. Demonstrate that you are committed to learning and development. Achieve the objectives that you have been set.
Flourish – Build on good will that has been created through the previous phases. Take the relationship to an advanced level by making time for activities that extend the normal working day. Share personal time within the framework and parameters of professional behaviour. Raise your bar of performance and excel – deliver the unexpected.
Relationships take time to cultivate, so don’t attempt to force them along too quickly. They must take a natural course and you need to be mindful of taking anyone for granted, as it is sure to backfire!