Just as they are in our personal lives, relationships are important for business, and when we founded JS 25 years ago, we were determined to build an organization that put people and relationships above all else. To us, relationship building, or R&B as we like to call it, is valuable time spent investing in others, making a real effort to get to know them.
Author and speaker John Maxwell once aptly said: “If you focus on what you can put into people rather than what you can get out of them, they’ll love and respect you – and those attributes are great foundations for building relationships.”
I define relationship building as the commitment to establishing and investing in people that genuinely matter to you. Whether that’s with family, friends, colleagues or business partners, a commitment to building and maintaining a relationship is part of a long game, not a short aim. It’s the complete opposite of “networking.” It’s an investment – a long-term, low-pressure effort to earn trust and respect.
The investment in a relationship – just like an investment in the stock market – pays. It pays in relational wealth.
What is relational wealth? It’s a richness that comes from deep, trustworthy connections with other people. It’s a deep well – one that can be drawn from – that serves to open doors or opportunity, fortify credibility, foster an awareness and promotion of your business and protect you during a situational challenge.
To achieve this, always try to be more interested than interesting. Be the one who asks smart questions and listens. Pursue this investing route wholeheartedly and watch what happens – you will become relationally rich and form strong bonds over time.
As we build relational wealth at JS, we seek out long-term relationships with deep connections and conversations; ones that continue to build trust and grow in stability – even through times of crisis. And while networking is about meeting people, we aim to invest in people so we may be connected in good times and in bad.
During this period of isolation and social distancing, there’s no doubt that loneliness can begin to creep in, making you feel disconnected from those you have built long-term relationships with. Being cooped up at home is not the same as working in an office full of people, and while you are still all one team , with the same goal, the one-on-one engagement and camaraderie can fall short.
But what we can’t forget is that we are all capable of taking on a new challenge. When faced with an obstacle, we have always been able to find a new path – and there has never been a better time to work together.
While relationship building will certainly take more effort remotely, this does not make it impossible. Reach out to your teammates, your friends and your family to check in. See how people are managing and how you can best support them. Many underestimate the power of a handwritten note or a friendly phone call. If anything, this is a time to become even closer with those you may h ave been struggling to connect with.
I am a strong believer that you get out what you put in – especially with relationships. Just because your work space may look more like your kitchen counter than your office desk, doesn’t mean you can’t still interact and connect with your clients and coworkers.
We have often heard the saying, “distance makes the heart grow fonder,” and while we still may be close geographically, our inability to interact face-to-face has taken on another form of distance.
However, once we emerge from this outbreak, we will be stronger, more appreciative and, I believe, better connected. While this pandemic has caused a lot of pain and has forced us to pivot our way of thinking, working and living, we will be stronger because of it.
So, make an effort to get to know and connect with others, continue to check in with friends and family and go the extra mile to make someone’s day – even if it’s from behind a screen. Remember, we are all facing the challenge ahead and will finish stronger together.