Elisabet Vinberg Hearn and I wrote this article for 2020visionleader.com
No one can succeed alone.
In fact, a major factor for the survival of our species over time has been, and continues to be, our ability to connect with and collaborate with others.
So, building strong, collaborative, creatively challenging and trustful relationships could be the most important thing you ever focus on. And the commitment to creating those relationships starts in your head – how you think about the people you work with will impact how the relationship is. So remember to start with your state of mind when wanting to connect and build trust and collaboration.
So who are the people you need to build strong relationships with?
- Your peers
- Your employees
- Your boss
- Your boss’ boss
- Your customers
- Your board of directors
- Your business partners
- Your suppliers
- Your contractors
- Your competitors
- Other decision makers
- And more…
Yes, the list is potentially long. But don’t let that deter you.
To strategically and carefully consider your stakeholder is not an optional task – it’s one of the most important ones on your list. It’s only by connecting respectfully and genuinely that we can be successful – and we don’t mean successful in a selfish “just for me” kind of way. No, we mean successful in a bigger context, being able to make a difference to something bigger than ourselves; like solving someone’s problem or creating solutions that evolve for the benefit of others over time.
If you currently don’t spend enough time considering how to cultivate those important relationships, here are three steps to help you on your way:
Map out the people you impact and the people that impact you – your stakeholders
Reflect on what they need from you and what you need from them. Then build a plan for what you need to do to meet those needs. Specify how, when and where you will connect and interact with them.
Keep in mind that not all your stakeholders have equal importance, and that’s OK
It doesn’t mean that some people are less important or valuable, but let’s be honest and pragmatic – you won’t have time to give everyone equal attention (nor would you or they want it) so you will need to put more focus on those that have the biggest role in your work reality.
Don’t just think short-term here, remember to build relationships for the future too – think long-term too.
Take a genuine interest in these key stakeholders; ask questions to understand them better, listen to them, take the time to create a real connection with them
Connect on the human level by being genuinely interested, not just in a transactional kind of way. Think about how you make them feel, what they experience when they interact with you – think about your impact.