Building valuable connections is not a complex process. All you really need to do is take the time to show that you sincerely care about building them. These connections are the result of investing and sharing something personal – regardless of the format.
It starts with a smile, genuine compliment, pat on the back, eye contact during the length of a handshake. Larger investments of time might include personal conversations, phone calls, ‘I was thinking about you’ messages, etc.
These might not sound like much; yet they are fundamental to great business as they are purely human interactions that generate emotional responses and memories. These impact us over hours, weeks, months, and years. Not to merely spout hyperbole; many of these brief, even tangential interactions impact us for several decades.
15 years ago I attended a leadership conference and was introduced to Zig Ziglar with over 15,000 other people. My tickets were close to the back of the arena, and I didn’t get a chance to actually meet him. Nonetheless, I connected with what he said, and the event was significant to my being here today. Countless other thought leaders have heavily influenced me as well, but they all stem from the ideas that I learned from Zig that day.
It seems ironic that our digital lives are spent building ‘connections’ between our devices via Bluetooth, Wifi, Internet, the cloud, social media, etc., yet we spend little effort connecting with humans. Our company policies are created to minimize the chance of offending someone or some group; we go to great lengths to polish our elevator presentations and mission statements; we invest huge sums of money to be ‘more interactive’ with employees and customers; yet all of these fall short of truly making valuable connections.
Hard-nosed executives, bankers, business brokers casually chalk this sort of thing as ‘fluff’ that is good to do if you have the chance, but comes a distant second to the business at hand. Even our entire accounting system considers equipment, facilities, revenues, receivables, and sometimes the mysterious ‘brand recognition’ as assets. Yet classifies employees, training, and engagement as expenses.
The REAL value of a company are its personal connections. It always has been.
Personal connections to customers and vendors allow a company to continue doing business in spite of higher prices, lower quality, slower delivery times, lack-luster products, and even product recalls. If the connection and process for handling things is enjoyable enough; these incidents may actually even strengthen the connection.
Personal connections to employees allow them to invest their ideas, emotions, AND labor into making your company better, and they stay at your company longer. What’s more; the stronger the connection, the less they actually expect in return for their additional investment.
What are you doing to build personal connections within your organization?