Stop Networking and Start Building Relationships

Throughout my career, every opportunity afforded to me has been based upon relationships.  Yes, I attended all of the appropriate networking events, joined all of the right organizations and I met the “right” people.  However, it wasn’t the networking that landed me the next job or propelled me into entrepreneurship, it was the genuine relationships that I developed that took me to new heights.  Well managed, strategic relationships will increase your value, your company’s bottom line and enhance your career.

Here are four keys to establishing and managing successful strategic relationships.  Each of these elements are what I’ve found to be incredibly helpful and successful whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.

  1. Be Authentic

No one wants to hire or work with someone that they don’t feel a real connection to.  The importance of being authentically you in the relationship building process is not only liberating for you but your confidence level will automatically show the other party that you are trustworthy and give them an ideal reason to want to establish a connection to you.

  1. Relationships must be strategic

You cannot waste time building relationships with people who are not able to provide access, opportunities and/or wise counsel as it relates to your goals. This doesn’t mean you must immediately go and try to create a relationship with the CEO of the company you wish to work for or do business with. What it does mean is when you are creating a networking plan based on strategic relationships, you have to spend time making a targeted list of people and/or companies (The Ealons Group helps clients create a strategic networking plan).

  1. Relationships must be mutually beneficial

When evaluating relationships, I often look at the areas in which I will likely need assistance in my business or in my personal life. I do not keep tabs, but I need to assess whether or not the relationship is unbalanced. You never, ever, want your contact to feel as if a relationship is unbalanced. Focusing on what you can offer rather than what you can receive will likely keep that from happening. Ultimately, to ensure relationships are mutually beneficial, make sure that you are able to provide an investment and more importantly, be strategic in choosing those to establish a relationship with.

  1. You can never over promise

In any relationship, integrity is the glue that keeps it together. Integrity is akin to being authentic. The goal here is to never promise something or agree to do something and then fail to do it. If you aren’t able to provide what you initially said you would, be honest and upfront about it as soon as you realize you cannot deliver. It is equally important not to over-promise either. Be sure of what it is you can provide before offering it. If you fail to follow through, your integrity with that person will diminish or it will be lost forever.

This was a quick overview of what’s needed to establish and maintain strategic relationships to achieve your goals.  Stay tuned for an e-book to provide you with more details.

Dru Ealons is the founder and CEO of The Ealons Group.