There’s a difference between successful leaders, professionals, and business people — and those who aren’t. The difference is their relationships. In life as well as in work, relationships are everything. And the currency that truly underscores great business relationships isn’t a matter of focusing only on profits or objectives and finding people willing to share that focus. It’s about focusing on the people themselves.
Learning how to best focus on relationships has to do with focusing on seven clear and practical strategies. They encompass all the pivotal aspects of a good business: investors, shareholders, customers, partners, employees, the communities they serve, and the planet on which we live:
- For sustained relationship success, do and say to others what you like having done or said to you and do not do or say to others what you do not like having done or said to you.
What’s the secret of successful relationships? It’s not an even exchange. The Golden Rule does not say to do unto others only if they treat you right. It says to do unto others as you would want them to do unto you, period. The responsibility to do right is always yours. It’s part of the pact you make with yourself, the constitution you live by: the things that you will do or will not do, no matter what. It’s your own Thou-Shall’s and Thou-Shalt-Nots.
- That for which you show gratitude increases.
Here’s the truth about gratitude: when we are grateful our lives are more abundant. Gratitude is powerful. Be thankful for what is good in your life and you will get more of it. It’s a simple principle, but don’t doubt its power. Meister Eckhart, the great mystic, said, ‘If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.’ And Plato said, ‘A grateful mind is a great mind, which eventually attracts to itself great things.’” Essentially, that which we pay attention to, expands. We choose where we place our attention — and that gives us the power to shape our lives. And we don’t happen in a vacuum: none of our adventures and accomplishments are experienced alone. The people in our lives show up for a purpose — so be grateful for the inspiration and joy every one of these people has contributed to your life.
- To serve people optimally, discover what they value.
The law of success is service. Consider the difference between a client and a customer. In business, a customer can be handled by a clerk, but a professional wouldn’t dare have a clerk serve a client. Why? Because in a professional relationship, the term ‘client’ has a whole set all the responsibilities and commitments that go along with it. And why shouldn’t everyone in our business lives — customers, employees, partners, investors, or whoever — get the benefit of that professional’s service. It’s a powerful idea to treat everyone you interact with in business as clients. It radically changes the way you handle your business. What matters is finding out what people value. Different people value different things. It’s the professional’s job to find out what that value is for each of the people you wish to serve.
- Honesty builds trust. Trustworthiness is the foundation of character. Character determines the fruit and pleasure of a relationship.
Trust and integrity are critically important in any relationship — and are at the root of a good partnership. But without honesty you can’t build trust, which holds true in any relationship. And it’s key to make sure your partners are trustworthy. We’ve all had those relationships where no matter what, you can’t get on the same page. Make sure you’re communicating directly in all your partnerships, and they are as well with you.
- The ability to influence others is the most valuable relationship asset. Demonstrated integrity determines the extent to which such influence is granted.
What’s the source of one’s ability to influence? Integrity. Be aware of your professional duty to continuously and honestly inform and discuss important matters with anyone that has invested in your efforts. Displaying integrity and character will build trust, goodwill and influence — and inspire people to invest their time and energy in you. Influence is the most powerful currency in business: use it well, and the world is yours. But if you abuse it, it will destroy both you and your company.
- Passion plus compassion moves mountains.
It’s not enough to care deeply about your business and your vision. Leaders care deeply about their employees and coworkers as well. They empower them. They take the time to get to know them and what they care about. They treat them royalty. They know that if they treat them well, they, in turn, will treat the company’s customers well. This doesn’t just apply to employees and coworkers, but in all relationships. Know and understanding your people, and display, inspire, and promote their passion. Companies succeed when they treat their people right.
- What you believe determines what you think, how you decide, the actions you take, and what you accomplish.
Take inventory of your beliefs. Your own beliefs have incredible power — and they have created the world you live in, whether you’re aware of it or not. It’s more than just thinking positively. It’s intentionally embracing the beliefs that will have a positive impact on everything and everyone around you. Believe in abundance, and you’ll have it.
Consider these seen principles your core commandments for how to live and how to work — and you’ll be laying the groundwork for a powerful transformation. They will free you from the misconceptions that hold you back from your full potential, and inspire confidence in your judgment, your friendship, your leadership and ultimately, your success.
Written by John Feloni.
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