Recently, I was at an event and had an opportunity to meet all sorts of interesting people, from potential customers to vendor partners, as well as our competitors. I had the realization that ultimately, at the end of the day, to be successful in business, Relationships ARE everything! Not just the relationships you have with your vendors or your customers, but all the others out there that could someday be a big part of who you are in business. Relationships with those in your industry and surrounding industries are just as important to your success in business as your relationship with your stakeholders. This even includes those people and companies that are your competitors, as we all have different strengths and can learn from one another.
So on the plane ride home, I really started thinking about why building relationships with those outside of our stakeholders is hard for so many people. We all have people in our life and work that are in it for themselves and don't seem to really care about building new and lasting relationships. So, what causes this and is there a common denominator?
I think a big part of this is being an ultra-competitive society for a long time and that the competitive spirit is viewed as only being the best if you were winning at all costs. A lot of these people are part of companies that are old school in the way they operate. They only look at each situation with a very narrow view. Their decisions and actions only focus on them scratching and clawing their way to the top. The problem with that is when you climb to the top you must have something at the bottom to hold you up. When the base suffers ultimately so will you.
We need to change this mindset and must demand from others and ourselves to become ultra-empathetic. We need to look at each situation, think about the relationships around that situation and review the possible actions. At that time we can choose the actions that will be the best course of action for everyone involved. We need to continue to work together with people so we can do better things!