“Building Relationships: A Key for Business Success” by Leo Hanon

I recently switched from an organization that has successfully accomplished its mission to represent, lead and serve the airline industry, to another that aims to revolutionize the cargo delivery via secured and cost-effective payment solutions. In this change of jobs, I have learnt how just critical business relationships are. These can turn the industry-driven missions and visions into a reality.

Success of a business organization or an entity is highly dependent on its internal and external relationships.

“The people when rightly and fully trusted will return the trust.” Abraham Lincoln

In my whole life, I have never seen someone accomplish anything meaningful without relying on other people. Knowing that no one is self-sustainable as an individual, every one serves to contribute in the progress of the business. Having solid relationship is a key, not just in business but also in life. So how does one build relationships?

I do not intend to lecture with pedagogical thoughts pretending to be an expert on the topic. This in fact, is a reflection of my learning based on experiences in business and in life.

The idea is also not to dig deeper on the subject exhaustively. Rather, to put before you all, a notion, that helps us take a break from our busyness and to rethink upon why we are in the quest of progress and success.

Before investing ourselves into building relationships, identifying the qualities of a long-term relationship comes first. We could make a list of characteristics essential for a sustainable relationship. However, to keep it short, let me share the one that is the foundation of all other characteristics. That is Trust.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Ernest Hemingway

A relationship depends on how important cultivating this relationship is to each of the two people. When one person cares that the other party’s interest is fulfilled, it is much more likely to be corresponded in the same manner. In other words, my partner’s satisfaction should be my priority and vice versa.

If you only care about your own interests, it will create a gap between you and your partner. This atmosphere of selfishness could kill a business organization, especially one that is at an early stage. If you do not trust your partner, there is no point running a business together, even though you have bound each other via contracts on paper.

Trust is not just meeting someone’s expectations based on competencies. It is driven based on values, which are mostly the hidden factors for affinity.

“The glue that holds all relationships together–including the relationship between the leader and the led–is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” -Brian Tracy

Another factor critical to building trust is having effective communication. Listening intently, speaking up clearly, and making sure the messages are interpreted correctly. Conveying your message across effectively is a vital part of communication. This helps create perceptions about people based on their behaviors, and disrupts baseless assumptions due to improper communication.

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” Henry Winkler

However, building trust is not a formula where all the variables are under control, with ‘time’ being on the top of the list. Building relationships does not happen overnight. Rather, showing interest in starting a business relationship, and making efforts to build trust and credibility is a time-taking process.

Building and cultivating a relationship comprises of a long journey, one that may even bear fruit along the way.

To draw a conclusion, I would say, “Trust is the inevitable path to a successful relationship and is anything but a shortcut. But if you have trust in yourself –in your good intentions, your principles and competences–, making all efforts in managing mutual expectations, caring for your partner’s interests, then building trust will be seamless.

I know this was just a reflection of thoughts that gives an overview on the topic. I wanted to share these reflections and wanted to invite you to share your thoughts based on experiences you have had, in the comments.

Leonardo Hanon – Executive Vice President at PayCargo, LLC

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