The Importance of Relationships


“Life is relationships; the rest is just details.” ~ Gary Smalley

The importance of relationships can never be underestimated. When you look at your successful decisions in life, you’d probably find that most of these decisions were influenced by relationships with significant people during that time. The people we surround ourselves with, play a pivotal part in our thinking, our talking and therefore also in our doing.

When I think back on my working career, most of my moves to different, better positions, were based on or influenced by trust relationships that I’ve built-up with people who with whom I have created meaningful relationships.

No meaningful relationship can in my opinion be created without trust and mutual respect.  How do you create trust and respect?  By being trust worthy. Respect is something you earn, by displaying integrity through aligning your words and your actions.

This does of course not happen overnight. Steven Covey says  “With people, if you want to save time, don’t be efficient. Slow is fast and fast is slow.”  Understanding this, has helped me a lot. In this world of instant gratification, where people want everything immediately and where they have completely lost the ability to wait and be patient, this skill has become almost extinct. But oh, so valuable if you can master it! Patiently build relationships over time. When I say relationships – I’m referring to friendship relationships – become a friend!

So I have made it my goal to consciously take the time out, to work hard at creating good, solid and valued relationships with people who I respect. I make it a point to add value and plough significance into their lives . I do this with the knowledge that I’m going to need to invest lots of time with them. (Also see my article on Mentorship)

The next important decision I have made, is to create a network of trusted advisors around me. People who I have personally ‘approved’ after looking at a stringent list of criteria. I keep this list to myself of course – they never know about this. But whenever I meet a new Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist, Plumber, Builder, etc I ask myself whether this person ‘meets’ my list of criteria. My list is quite simple, but very efficient.  I ask myself if the person I’ve had dealings with:

–          Has integrity (Their words and deeds align)

–          Is honest and trustworthy

–          Is friendly and communicates openly

–          Believes in quality and takes pride in their work

–          Truly adds value to my life

–          Is the type of person that I will want to refer all my friends to

–          Is great at what they do

–          Delivers more than what is asked of them

I don’t believe this is too strict of a criteria list? Do you? Is this not what you’d want from your “trusted advisers”? Remember that these are not going to be people with whom you only have once-off interactions. These people will become my ‘Circle of Friends’ whenever I need advice in their respective speciality areas – possibly at times when I might not have time to look for someone new, to wonder whether I can trust their advice or motives.

Now the challenge is … to become this person to others around me. Would I ‘qualify’ if someone else were to put me through this criteria list. I can not only measure others by these standards, unless I’m willing to measure myself by these as well, can I?

So…therefore …be or become the person I’d like to see in others, while constantly building these relationships.

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~ by Danie van den Berg on 28/01/2010.

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