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Don’t forget the basics

We covered one approach on “how” of building bulletproof relationships.

While you can use some of the techniques that have been outlined so far, none of these will WORK if you forget some of the basics or fundamentals. Here are a few of them:

#1. Clarify your purpose

It all starts with the purpose. If your purpose is to gain a competitive advantage and the vehicle for this is going to be “long-term relationships,” you are starting off on the wrong foot. Gaining competitive advantage should come in as a “side-benefit” of powerful long- term relationships. It cannot be any other way. On the other hand, if your purpose is to genuinely provide significant help and you derive happiness in the success of the relationships you build or introduce, you will get a lot more than you can imagine.

The golden rule is ‘get more is to give more without expectation of getting more.’ Yes, the method seems contradictory at the outset, but it works!

#2. Never misuse privileged information

The fact that you have a long-term relationship with a person means that you both trust each other—completely. Obviously, you have a lot more information about this person— and much of it is confidential. There will be times when you COULD use this information for your personal gain. I say you COULD and not you SHOULD.

Misusing the information is the fastest way to destroy that long-term relationship you took years to build. Typically, quick short-term gains you might accrue from this may have disastrous long-term consequences.

#3. Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul

This is not the best analogy that I could find. It still helps me make my point. I have told this before that every long-term relationship you build will take up a piece of your life. You have to invest the time necessary to grow the relationships. One easy way to find this time is to take away from people that are close to you—immediate family members. We both know that it’s not the right thing to do. Let’s leave it at that.

#4. Grow

One word that seems simple, but is extremely hard to manage. You have heard this before: You need to be running just to stay where you are.
You are either sliding or rising. You can’t stand still. This is not an option.
You will have company whether you are sliding or rising. The company you will have when you are rising will let you rise higher faster. The company you have when you are sliding will provide you sympathy – which helps but won’t take you to any great heights.

To be clear, sliding is very different from failing. When you slide, you are consciously not taking care of your interests. Failing is just a statistical result when you try new things.

You are smart and intelligent. Who would you want to be friends with – the ones who are growing or the ones who are sliding? If it is clear for you, why do you think the other person will think any different?

#5. Have respect for people’s time

Time, unfortunately, is in short supply in everybody’s life. We all have so much to do but there is so little time. The more powerful a person is, the less time he has available to spend on things that matter less to him. You can win big if you just ensure that every time you request time from a powerful person, he gets the highest ROII (return on investment for an interaction) for that time spent. That way, you can be assured that you will get another meeting.

If not, you can get away with one meeting and forget about any further interactions with that person.

#6. Use the tools in the right fashion

We are definitely living in an interesting time when it comes to the number of productivity tools that are available to us today. Take networking and the situation is no different. You will find many social networking tools at your disposal. Most of these tools don’t charge you money to use their basic services. Unfortunately, if you are networking in the wrong manner, social networking tools will only make your situation worse.

I have met too many people who think their “LinkedIn” contact count is an indicator of their power. In some cases, it may be true but very rarely is it a common trait. I have seen that many of these people spend enormous time in increasing the contact count rather than spending the same time in building relationships. After a while, they may achieve their dream number (of LinkedIn contacts) but that may mean nothing if there is no ongoing investment in the relationship from both sides. I am sure many of you LinkedIn users out there continue to get requests to “Link In” from someone that you truly don’t yet have a relationship with.
LinkedIn is a great tool if used right.

There are many ways of using LinkedIn right. The above was one simple example of a great tool being wrongly used. Think about your own life. How are you using the tools that are available to you? Sometimes I think that it would be better not to use a tool than to use it wrongly.

#7. Never be an “extra baggage” for anyone

My friend used to say it jokingly – “You should either be a driver, navigator or a passenger but you should never be extra baggage. Extra baggage adds weight and sometimes costs money to just lug around.” None of us want to be in this category consciously. However, several of us may be playing that role without our knowledge in some people’s lives.

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