The Value of Relationships

05. 05. 2014    |    posted by: Ralph Beck

We have focused much of our marketing at U3P on process and purpose because they are easiest to describe and appeal to our prospects and clients during the first steps.

Later on, we enter the “people” part of the business, an essential area of the U3P focus. As opposed to the compliance part of the hiring process or employment documentation, by “people,” we mean the relationships that form an organization. Beyond client, prospect, and supplier relationships, internal interactions play an important role. We can all agree that relationships would be easier if we had total control of heart and mind. However, then the true value of them would be missing, as they provide something we cannot achieve alone. We often take them for granted, unlike most things we value. Filtering in a bit of purpose and process can enhance the value of relationships to all parties.

When working on relationships, personal and often defensive barriers tend to arise. If there must be some blame, an implication of under-performance is usually involved. Our approach to this problem is the same as it is with our process work. The old or current relationship is not necessarily bad, but if we want a different outcome, the relationship or process will need to change too.

One of the powers of our Action Team Method is its ability to help redefine working relationships, and thus change behaviors in line with goals. What do you do when there is no Action Team Method on the agenda? A common solution is to build a referral network, where the parties are not part of the same organization. Neither party needs to buy services from the other to create value. The goal, however, should be a common one. How do we provide value and build trust?

Value building means understanding the other person’s needs and finding ways to fulfill them. Trust is built the same way, with two new constraints in creating the value and doing so in a predictable manner. It is hard to trust somebody who is not really willing to help, if it is all about them, and is unpredictable in their ability or timing in action. We may want to believe there is or will be value, but behaviors are what will confirm or undermine our initial wish.

While it is conceptually easier to see and then build this with outside parties due to less unscheduled contact, the same methodology applies inside the workplace too. Value is created by far more than a paycheck. Nobody is positively motivated and aligned by financial awards alone. Money is easier to use as a tool, and it helps avoid the difficult thinking of what we each really want—the laundry list, the priorities. If we know those, value creation is easier. If we keep up with how they change for all parties, then relationships can build and flourish at work.

One last idea, it comes from a negotiation course I recently took. Change management, which requires changes in relationships, all comes down to a mutual negotiation between individuals and organizations. Recognizing that, it is easier to see how the value needs to be built into planning and execution at many levels.

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