By Robert Stitt
When you think about what makes a business successful many things come to mind. Among them are likely money, time, education, investments, location, training, employees, and so forth. What many people tend to leave off their list is actually one of the greatest keys to success: relationships. You’ve heard the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, Carnegie wrote the famous book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and even Donald Trump discusses relationships in his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal”.
Black Enterprise puts it this way, “Relationships are currency.” Carla Harris a senior partner at Morgan Stanley and author of “Strategize to Win” adds, “Once you have built relationship currency, its power will motivate people to act on your behalf. Relationship currency can give you the ability to request something or some action of someone else, connect to other relationships, and recover from a mistake.”
When you boil it all down, you cannot put all of your eggs in the education or skill set basket. You need to advance your interpersonal skills as well. Black Enterprise notes that many people do not advance as much in their careers for lack of building and nurturing the right relationships.
Three ideas to help you develop your relationship currency include:
- Learn about your coworkers’ lives outside of work. Ask them about their families, what they do for fun, how the weekend went, etc. Spend some time showing an interest in the things that matter to other people. You don’t have to enjoy everything they do, but if you do come across some common interests, then you win twice.
- Help others when there is no obvious payback. Nothing shows that you care about people more than doing something without the disclaimer “What am I getting out of this” hanging over your head. When you show an interest in other people, the word gets around.
- Add value to your coworkers’ ideas. When you show support to others’ ideas and support their initiatives, it shows that you are a team player. Team players tend to have support come back around.
This is still the start of 2016, and it’s not too late for New Year’s resolutions. If you want to advance your career, let one of those resolutions be the advancement of your relational skills.