Developing Strategic Relationships Part 1

Did you know that you are only six people away from every other person in this world? Really? Yes, you are that close to anyone you can think of. In the social networking world of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you could even be the only person between you and the next person. So what does this mean? It means the possibilities and impact you can make in this life is so great, only if you make the right connections. You need to develop strategic relationships. These are relationships that are well thought out, and part of an elaborate  and systematic plan of action leading to specific personal success outcomes. To be strategic in relationships means you make the important relationships important and invest in them.

Life Is A Summary of Relationships

Your success in life is determined by the relationships you have. You cannot succeed beyond the kind of relationships you. Your life is summary of relationships. You are a product of a relationship between your parents. The stages we go through in life whether its school, college, work, business, marriage, associations or friendships …is all a series of relationships. While some of the relationships are a biological, geographic or social fact, you nonetheless hold the key to improving the quality of these relationships. Your relationships create your environment, and your environment determines your success, therefore to achieve success you need to manage your relationships.

Relationships Create Opportunities

Education, skill and experience are the nuts and bolts to success, but the oil that makes them turn is relationships. There are many people with great qualifications, skills and years of experience, but they have not met with corresponding success. The missing spark could be relationships. A week ago, it was reported that President Zuma’s approval ratings are going up. He recently met with his arch critic Archbishop Tutu and appointed another critic Tony Leon an ambassador. He has defined his presidency as one based on a more engaging style, than his predecessor, President Mbeki who was perceived as an aloof intellectual. Intellect without relationships is like a boat on dry ground. The key lesson is that while education or talent can open doors for you, to keep them open you need relationships. The secret to accomplishing personal objectives can be found in reaching out to other people. What distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships to create opportunities for everyone.

Who You See, Determines Who Sees You

Have you ever wondered why you will never see a Mercedes Benz dealership located downtown? This is because of the principle of positioning and association.  If you are positioned in a common place, you will meet with common opportunity and the converse is true. You are the product of the company you keep. In order to experience uncommon success you need to develop new relationships . Make it your aim to develop relationships with people who challenge you to better yourself. What is better to be a big fish in a small pond, or to be a small fish in a ocean? Leave your comfort zone. It’s allowed to go into a top hotel lounge and just ask for even free tap water or sit and ‘just relax’. Drive to a nice neighbourhood and start viewing houses for sale, visit a golf club just to see. If you bump into some big shot and they say ‘I don’t know you’ just respond and say “now you have an opportunity to know me”. As you do so, you begin to expose yourself to interactions which can take you to the next level. The law of association also states that what you continuously expose yourself to, you will soon become.

Your Personal Brand and Relationships

If you were to sit with billionaire mining entrepreneur Patrice Motsepe on a 6 hour flight what would you discuss with him? What impression would you want to give him about yourself? Would he entrust you with USD10 million dollars to incubate poverty alleviation projects in Africa? The point is to build relationships you need to be credible and offer your own compelling value proposition or unique point of view. Relationships are a give and take affair. You may not bring material resources to a relationship, but at least bring your personal substance and identity. How can you offer anything of value if you haven’t thought about how you want to stand out and differentiate yourself? Be someone worth talking to — even better, someone worth talking about. In everything that you do make sure you create your own content and develop skills that differentiate you from others and increases your value. Your unique intellectual property creates key opportunities to gain credibility and visibility. It can be a cause, an idea, a trend or a skill. Stamp your style and exercise the right to be yourself and see your value increasing.

If you’re not distinct, you’re extinct. A powerful personal brand is a great advantage in building relationships. A credible, distinctive and trustworthy identity attracts more people to you or your cause, and you’ll find it easier to win new friends and have more say in what you do and where you work. Who you are and what you are known for determines who will pay attention to you.

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