Profitable Relationships: Is It Amateur Hour or King of the Hill?

Marcia Zidle

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”We’re in the relationship business…. . . airplanes are what we use to provide a service. ” remarked Colleen Barrett, President and COO Southwest Airlines remarked,

Are you in the relationship business? Of course you are. Everyone who has to work with, deal with, sell to, convince, etc. is! Unless you’re on a deserted island, you must connect with, interact, and influence people every single day. Winning relationships result when people make a positive connection.

However, strong relationships seldom happen overnight. It takes time to gain trust, to obtain information, and to demonstrate your integrity. Building strong relationships is a process. It’s not magic; it’s not chemistry; it’s not luck. Because it is a process you can learn it and you can replicate it throughout your organization. The three steps in building winning workforce and business relationships are:

What you think – your mind set.
Not surprisingly you must first believe in the value of building relationships. If you don’t think relationships make a difference to your professional or personal success, why make the effort (and it is an effort) to learn how to build good ones? Smart leaders understand the ultimate power of relationships both inside and outside their organization.

What you ask – the information you gather.
Smart leaders ask questions to identify shared interest, experiences and common ground. They show an interest in what others have to say; acknowledge their perspective and ideas. Are you making the time to really get to know your staff, co-workers, peers and customers?

What you do – the ability to effectively interact with people.
Smart leaders are able to understand themselves and how their behavior impacts others; are approachable and create an environment of trust; have a sincere desire to assist others in the pursuit of goals; are able to ‘tune in’ accurately to the needs of others and then treat them accordingly; build networks and find common ground to minimize conflict and maximize rapport.

Remember, profitable relationships are keys to business and professional success. Skill in building and maintaining relationships are valuable not only to sales people but to everyone from the shop floor to the top floor and everything in between.

Marcia Zidle, the ‘people smarts’ coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job ­ to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management. Subscribe by going to and get the bonus report “61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers”. Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks ­ resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs ­ fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.


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