Nurturing Professional Relationships
Building a Strong Network
There is a wealth of data supporting the value of building and maintaining your personal and professional relationships. Most new jobs are found through networking, you are only six connections away from your next opportunity, and the list goes on. Given the importance of these fragile entities how does one go about preserving the best ones and ditching the rest.
Warren Buffet uses a three question approach to determine where he will invest his time. After meeting someone he has to be able to answer a resounding yes to the following questions:
1. Do I like them?
2. Do I trust them?
3. Do I respect them?
Since our time and capacity is limited in maintaining these relationships it is good to have a sound method for triaging them.
Another method suggested by Jack Canfield is to make a list of all the people you keep in touch with on a regular basis. Then you classify them as either Healthy or Toxic. Toxic is defined as someone that is perpetually complaining, maintains a negative outlook, and or lacks integrity (gossip, back biting, etc).
It goes without saying that all those individuals categorized as toxic are jettisoned immediately. You do not have the time or energy to devote to relationships that are doomed from the start. Plus if you continue to foster the relationship there is the chance they could pull you down with them. Is your success really worth that?
Finally when you have found those relationships you want to nurture make sure that every interaction results in a win-win outcome. That will ensure the health and longevity of the relationship.