Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster and do it with no thought of reward. Your life will never be the same again, wrote Og Mandino, the great inspirational thinker.
In this age of rapid technological change, where computers are obsolete the moment they come to the market and business models that have governed commerce for decades have been rendered useless by the web, one time-honoured principle endures: how high you rise in business will ultimately come down to how well you treat people. The more prevalent technology becomes, the more important it becomes to master the art of developing deep connections with the people who surround you.
Here are four effective lessons to better your business relationships and, correspondingly, raise the levels of your success and fulfilment at work.
Too many people in business are consumed by short-term thinking where they view a customer as a one-time source of revenue rather than as someone with whom a lifelong relationship needs to be nurtured before it yields the win-win results you are seeking. I recently engaged a graphic design firm to create a new brochure for a leadership seminar I was to deliver to a group of investment advisors. While the quality of the brochure was excellent, the agency charged me triple the going rate for the work it did. I quietly paid the invoice but vowed never to do business with that company again.
Promises to keep
Doing what you say you will do is the best way to begin your relationships. It will also raise the level of your credibility vis-a-vis your colleagues and customers. We live in a world of hype where people say they will deliver a certain result and then, once they get the order, they never follow through on their commitment. Yet, success in business and in life lies in the follow-through. The smallest of actions is always better than the noblest of intentions and peak performers always do what they say they will do, even when it is not easy for them to deliver on the commitment.
A strong commitment to working with integrity requires a daily commitment to honesty. In a crowded marketplace where customers have never had so many choices as to who they will do business with, people will drive many miles to give their business to someone who is honest and sincerely cares about their best interests. Make some time over the coming week to reflect on how often you tell little untruths and obscure minor facts. In business, as in life, the little things are the big things and your personal conduct in dealing with others is the most important driver of long-lasting success.
As you enrich your relationships, always remember this cardinal rule: before someone lends you a hand, you must touch their heart. The people who really succeed in business are those who dedicate themselves to astonishing their team-mates and customers with daily acts of decency and common acts of humanity.