The Golden Rule… treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. We have probably all heard this statement in our personal lives, but does it apply to our business lives? Absolutely! I encourage clients to follow the golden rule in their business development efforts. By applying the most basic human elements to building relationships, you gain confidence, leading to increased business down the road.
- Be friendly. It seems so simple, but so many times people just skip the pleasantries of daily communication. This goes beyond your basic ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. It means taking a few extra seconds to ask someone how they are doing, what is new or follow up on a previous conversation.
- Be helpful. Go out of your way to be helpful to others. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering– open a door, look up a reference for someone, send them an article that they may have interest in. Fight the tendency to keep to yourself and ignore the problems of others. Identify a need, business or personal, and offer to help in some way.
- Listen. Don’t just talk at people. Take the time to listen to what people are saying and connect to them in these conversations. Everyone wants to be listened to yet so few actually listen. It is difficult to do– it isn’t just waiting for your turn to talk– it is engaging in the other person’s point of view.
Try applying these three tips to your daily business interactions and take notice of how your actions affect others and also how they make you feel. You will find that you feel more confident in your relationships. Building trusting relationships in this manner allows you to make better connections, ultimately leading to increased referrals. At the very least, you have improved on the way you deal with others, making a more positive impact in general.
Pulling together talented individuals with diverse outlooks can have a powerful impact on the bottom line. It sounds so simple– surround yourself with the best and let them do their jobs. But in reality, building a successful team can be a very difficult task. Following are a few tips for helping teams to work cohesively while minimizing any difficulties.
- Create clear goals that are understood and accepted by each team member.
- Outline responsibilities that call upon the specific talents of each team member.
- Build trust within an honest environment.
- Offer team building activities that allow for some time to get to know each other outside of the business agenda.
- Create consensus in the decision making process. A team that makes decisions together will stand by each other and the group’s decisions.
- Keep the lines of communications open. Fully inform team members of what is going on that effects the group.
- Be grateful for all contributions. Say thank you on an individual basis as well as to the entire team.
- Give positive feedback where ever possible.
I recently volunteered my time to help publicize the service projects that the Boy Scouts of America are undertaking in my town. I knew this was a good thing to do, but I found that it took me a few days to hit send on that email committing myself. This hesitation made me wonder… Should I be doing this? Do I have time? Do they really need my help? This got me thinking deeper…. why is it so hard for people to give up time in the form of volunteer work? That answer came quickly… because there seems to be less time to give.
I know that I am no different than any other individual raising a family, keeping a home and working with clients. We all feel pressed to make time for too many commitments. At the same time, too many organizations find they have fewer volunteers to minister to the many needs in our communities.
Informally, I surveyed my colleagues about their volunteer work to see how they feel about their volunteer efforts. Everyone, without fail, feels satisfied that they have chosen their cause despite the fact that the work is time-consuming. This work opens their network, allows them to feel connected to a community and bonded to a common cause.
So, why am I writing about this topic? It isn’t some guilt trip to increase volunteerism. It is to spur you to pause a moment to think about how you spend your time. Are you engaging in work you enjoy? Are you doing things that further your business and personal goals? If not, then it is time to re-evaluate your commitments.
Likewise, when selecting your business development activities, choose wisely. Don’t fill your calendar with random ‘acts of marketing’ because you will not further any goals. Instead, select ‘worthy’ avenues of your efforts and you will feel a stronger sense of accomplishment along the way (…and perhaps even help an important cause at the same time!).