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The Importance of Relationships

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In this blog I would like to offer my observations regarding the power of connections and the pay-off that develops from unselfishness.

When I was at breakfast with a colleague, Ashley Palmer of Red Clover, we discussed her recent career change. As we spoke about her new company, she explained how they help businesses and professional service firms that are in a high growth mode.

She carefully explained what they do – and don’t do. She told me that the company is not an outsource HR service, but rather works in tandem with companies who are ready to create their own internal human resource department. Often the company leaders are not exactly sure how to do that efficiently and effectively.  Given today’s emphasis on culture building and staff training and development, human capital is an area that many emerging companies are rapidly focusing on – and which should be handled by following best practices.

After listening to her, we were able to brain storm and identify some local business organizations that typically attract members who fall within her target market.

Aligning with others who influence a similar audience made good sense.

These were groups that she was unfamiliar with, but she quickly recognized that she could add real value for them and their constituents. She was enthusiastic about the opportunity to help, to share insights, and to provide guidance for smaller companies with fewer resources.   She was looking forward to building meaningful relationships – not to attracting transactional engagements.

That’s the power of connections.

Contrast this with a discussion I had earlier this week with a business owner who was investigating a local chamber of commerce as a potential new member. His first question to me was, “Should I join? What will I get out of it?” Notice the statement is about him when he asks– what will I get out of it?

Do you see the difference? One person was finding ways to help and the other was looking for someone to help him. He was measuring success on gaining an immediate return – seeking to get rather than to give. Instead, he could have measured success as a new member of the chamber by totaling the number of people for whom he was able to arrange interesting introductions.

How have you helped someone else?

It has been said time and again that people like to do business with others they like and trust. So when you are expanding your horizons, growing your company, and strengthening your brand and marketplace reputation, ask yourself what you have done to gain someone’s appreciation or respect or trust.

Sally Glick, Sobel & Co.