The old cliché “It’s not what you know, but rather who you know” is absolutely on target. I am living proof of that fact! If you are reading this blog, I trust you are one of my valued relationships.
I attempted to look up the definition of “relationship” and found the search to be fruitless for my purposes. I personally define relationships as genuine mutual respect and congeniality between people. Developing strong relationships, both in business and personally, will sustain you in life!
One of the very best relationship builders I know is Charlie Amato, Chairman of SWBC. He and his elementary school friend, Gary Dudley, President of SWBC, started the company in 1976 with $1,500. Now SWBC is a privately-held, multi-faceted international financial services company with over 2,000 employees across the country. How did SWBC become a recognized leader in their industry? I contend it was through building and developing relationships. PEOPLE WANT TO DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE THEY LIKE AND TRUST! Later on in the month I will interview Charlie so that he can share some of his tips on building relationships, and I will post our session on my blog.
Developing quality relationships does take some effort. I am certainly no expert, but I can share what I have done. Some will say “Linda knows everybody in town”, which is far from reality. What is reality, however, is that I have developed relationships in multiple directions, which provides a richness and broad-range cadre of relationships. We can usually rely on our family to be there for us, but it is critical that we develop other relationships outside that loyal bloodline to achieve our ultimate goals in life.
So, how do you broaden your bank of relationships?
- First and foremost, “Be interested, not interesting!” Ask questions – learn about people! How can you possibly develop relationships with people you know nothing about?
- Get involved – find a cause you are passionate about. Allow people to see that caring, softer side of you so that you can build your relationships on deeper levels.
- Find ways to help others by offering your support and encouragement. In doing so, you will be able to create relationships that will last a lifetime.
- Have a selfless rather than a selfish attitude. That means shedding the W-I-I-F-M (What’s in it for me) attitude. The right kind of attitude will always pay off in the end.
- Good relationships are built on integrity. You must maintain trustworthiness and honesty in order to maintain respect from others.
Shortly after I arrived in San Antonio in the mid ‘80s, I met Harriet Marmon Helmle. She took me under her wing to introduce me around town. I ultimately retained the services of the company she was with, primarily because I liked and appreciated Harriet. I have watched Harriet change the landscape of our community through her many contributions and extensive range of relationships. Unlike Charlie Amato, Harriet does not “own” a company, but she has definitely contributed to growing companies throughout her career due to her incredible ability to build and maintain relationships. Check out everything she’s done by clicking on Harriet.
I end this piece with such a fulfilled sense of contentment knowing that the relationships I have developed through the many years of my life have been a true blessing for me. May that also be true for you!