Vickie was a divisional leader, but she was no favorite of the staff or leaders working in the corporate office. They didn’t really want to work with her unless they needed to. She was respected for being bright and knowing her job. She also had a reputation for being very direct, always wanting to get to the point of the conversation, which of course was usually wanting to do something her way. She needed to be in control. Her coach asked her once if she ever visited the senior leaders when she was at the corporate office to check in and say hello. She quickly replied “no, not unless I need to talk with them”, followed by a quizzical, “why would I do that?” The coach’s response was, “to get to know them personally and build a relationship.”

At about the same time as Vickie was climbing the list of “least favorite to work with” in the corporate office of her organization, Bob was meeting with his leadership team at a large Wealth Management company to talk about the recent departure of John, who left to start his own firm. John was smart, he understood wealth management, and had developed a large client base. Bob’s question was “how many of John’s clients went with him?”  The answer was, all of them.”  He was stunned at the answer, he couldn’t believe it. Not one client was salvaged to stay with them, they all went with John.

Vickie and John are both good at their job. They are smart and technically proficient. What made one of them a challenge to work with and the other was able to retain all their clients when leaving the organization?  It’s simple, one was skilled at developing and maintaining relationships!

John’s client base grew because he invested in his clients’ lives. He developed meaningful relationships with them.

If you want to be successful in your career, learn to develop relationships. And not just transactional relationships. Relationships where you and someone want to work together. We mistakenly celebrate individuality in our country. People love to say, “I did it by myself” or “did it my way”. But that isn’t really success. Success is achieved working with others.

Do you respond quicker with “yes” when you have a relationship with someone? I certainly do. It’s probably because I trust the people I have a relationship with. If I don’t know you, I wonder about your motives. I’m skeptical.

Will you “go the extra mile if you don’t have a relationship with someone? Maybe, if I must. But I know that I’ll do more for someone I have a relationship with. I might even offer to stay late and help or come in over the weekend to assist. I’ll do more than I’m asked.

Another great thing about relationships is they make it easier for us to ask questions of each other or provide helpful feedback. We lower our defenses when we have a relationship. We listen better.

Don’t rush to get things done. Instead, work at developing relationships with your team and your peers. Your relationships will get stronger the more you know about each other. Dig deep and learn about them and let them know about the real you. That’s what relationships are built on.

Relationships are important in your career and in life.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 NLT

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