Is Building Relationships Important In Business?

Building Relationships

Is Building Relationships Important In Business?

Marc-Eddy Drouinaud Jr – 5 May 2017

You cannot do business alone. You need people around you to help you. Therefore, building relationships with people and sustaining them is very important. This is a fact in business. This article attempts to throw light on the art of building relationships.


Building Relationships

Become genuinely interested in other people:

This is golden rule to follow in building relationships. As an employer, inquiring about the well-being of others without having any kind of selfish motive can go a long way in cementing relationships. People will find this trait of you being genuinely interested in them as very endearing. A businessperson can close many deals by evincing a genuine interest in the client rather than extolling the benefits of his or her products or services.

Give the credit where it is due:

Business is teamwork. The hallmark of a great leader is that he or she should appreciate teamwork and give the credit for any success to the team. In this way, he can ensure the loyalty of the team members towards the company. When you have loyal employees, your business’s profits can sky-rocket.

Never criticize anybody especially in front of others:

Your employees are human too. They can make mistakes. Some of the mistakes can be detrimental to the interests of the company. If the intention of the employee is not suspect, it is always advisable to forgive the mistake and move ahead. In any case, you should never criticize him or her in front of others. You can speak to the person in private about the issue and make him or her realize the damage.


Call your employees by their first names:

Every person in the world is proud of his or her first name. Calling him or her by that name can have a tremendous effect on his or her psyche. It creates a special kind of bonding between the employee and you. As much as possible, try to remember their names even after they leave the company. This is one of the best ways of building relationships.


Understand the difference between flattery and praise:

Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he or she thinks in order to get benefits. For example, if you were the owner of a clothing store, flattery is telling a woman she looks nice in a dress in order to get her to buy it. Praise is what you think of him or her. Knowing the difference is the key to building effective relationships. Praise is handing out complements for no gain, praise is genuine. You need praise in order to build lasting business relationships.

The Importance of Team Building In The Workplace

The Importance of Team Building In The Workplace

Edmund Brunetti – 5 April 2017

Team building is crucial when you want to ensure that your organization is operating smoothly. When staff members dislike each other or are in constant conflict, working together on projects can become difficult and you may find yourself with employees that aren’t very productive. Having a facilitator come in to share relevant exercises or inviting a team building speaker to address these issues can make the difference between your organization underachieving or being a success. The main thing that professionally led team building events allow you to do is open up and improve the channels for communication. In a collegial environment, your employees can openly discuss what they find to be a hindrance to their team work and many employees will also recognize that their own behavior has been an issue that can be easily improved.

Once the team issues are out in the open, respectful dialogues can be had and from there the relationship between employees as well as between management and employees will improve. With improved relationships, comes better and more productive team work, which means the quality of the work being done will improve as well. The events also help to motivate employees to become more pleasant to work with. By recognizing the assumptions and issues in their own perspective or approach, employees can target these areas and fix the way that they interact in a team. Once they start to work better with other employees, they will become more confident in their abilities and they might discover that leadership comes easier when they get along with their team. This could open many doors for them and motivate them not to back down from challenges.

Having an experienced team building speaker present will definitely make thing easier during these events. With a speaker present, there is an impartial and engaging third party that will be able to better motivate employees and give them a fresh perspective. Team building activities run by a speaker will also force your employees to think creatively, since it will be something new outside of the usual office tasks. Once your employees learn to work together under these new circumstances, they will find it much easier to be cooperative when they’re working together on work projects.

Employees will also have new skills and insights in their back pockets after listening to a team building speaker. They will learn new problem solving skills and learn to think about problems in team work in a different way, making them more valuable to your organization. Developing these skills will help them a lot in future endeavors as well as future team projects. Another good thing that comes from attending team building events is that it by opening up communication channels your employees start to trust each other more as well as their management. If you get the feeling that your employees might not feel very connected to you and that the gap between management and employee is too wide, it might be time for all of you in the office to work through a few team building exercises together.

Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering

Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering

Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering


By Carol Weaving

Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the fulcrum of our economic engine; not only in South African but across the African continent. In South Africa, they provide employment to about 60% of our labour force and they plug-in various gaps in a number of industry value chains, facilitating the effective running of said industries.


Equally important, SMEs are, as South African Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, Francois Groepe asserts, “an essential conduit whereby millions of people enter the economic and social mainstream of a society.”


Through small businesses, the everyman has relatively unfettered access to an otherwise cryptic and many a time, exclusive realm. At a time when our economy needs us all to pull and push together, they present an effective pathway to economic inclusion.

With this in mind, supporting small businesses could not be more urgent. In South Africa, SMEs make up 91% of formalised businesses and are responsible for 34% of our GDP. These are huge numbers that can be bigger the more support there is for SMEs.


We need platforms that facilitate entrepreneurship and small business growth, like the Small Business Expo which is the evolution of 20 years of Thebe Reed Exhibitions’ dedication to entrepreneurship.


The exhibition, focuses on facilitating relationship brokering between small business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, franchisors, corporate leaders and business hubs and incubators. Through effective relationship brokering, small business owners connect and support each other, and grow their establishments.


1. Know your own story, and know it well

Sharing your story – whether it’s your business proposition, your skill set or a project you are working on – is a determinant of successful relationship brokering. You have to know your story, and know it well enough to share it in a compelling manner. Your story is part of the collateral you leave any prospective business connections.


2. Relationship brokering builds social capital

Your own and the social capital of those around you. It’s a process that, when done right, builds your influence and profiles your authority. Not only do you get a chance for people to know you, but also for people to get to know what you do and the pedigree you possess as a business owner, entrepreneur or professional. You position yourself, on an uninterrupted stage that is formal yet relaxed and personal.


3. Relationship brokering is about building sustainable communities of people and businesses that complement each other

It’s about fostering collaboration where synergies exist and enabling connections where business opportunities exist. Beyond that, a successfully built community becomes the support structure to members of its network.


4. Build and maintain bridges

Don’t put yourself first. Pay attention to your business associates and connections. Ascertain their needs and assist them in addressing those needs. During that process, you profile your own skill set and showcase what you and your business can do. This is important as relationship brokering is only self-serving to a point. If it becomes a one-way street, connections crumble because no one wants to be involved in a one-way relationship.


5. Relationship brokering facilitates sharing

Relationships are about mutual value and this mutual value is not only monetary but also about shared objectives, visions and ambitions. This connection must allow parties to draw value strategically for the outcome of a business endeavour or opportunity. The shared value can include knowledge, skills transference or specialist experience – whatever the attribute, achieving mutual value is the objective of the relationship.


6. Quality trumps quantity

Relationship brokering is not a business card collection contest after all. Focus on those businesses and personalities who are stakeholders in your industry’s value chain. Always remember that one quality business relationship surpasses a rolodex of business cards who have no link to your work or industry.


7. Do follow up. Do reach out

Many of us do more than enough sharing of contact details but not enough following up and reaching out. Follow up to legitimise the connection and start building a relationship.

Get Them To Solve Problems, Not Just Raise Concerns

Get Them To Solve Problems, Not Just Raise Concerns

Get Them To Solve Problems, Not Just Raise Concerns

By Lonnie Pacelli

Some time back one of my managers sent out an email announcing that we had just won an account. This was a very big deal for us as our product was new to the marketplace and we were working hard to gain acceptance with customers. Several of us responded to the email expressing our excitement over the new account. One of my managers responded with “I’ve got concerns” and listed off a series of issues with servicing the account. All of the issues that the manager brought up were valid issues; the problem is that I didn’t know who was expected to do what regarding the issues.

I asked the manager that raised the issues to get in a room with a couple of other managers and put some resolution to the issues. Fortunately, there was no friction in the request and the managers got to work to outline each issue and put forth a suggested approach for how to deal with the issue. About an hour later the team of managers responded with a solid approach that would be taken which worked for everyone and addressed all of the concerns raised.

We’ve all experienced the person who had no problem at all saying “I’ve got concerns” to just about anything but offered nothing constructive in terms of suggested resolutions. The culprit wants to be the one to raise the issue and wants someone else to take ownership to resolve the problem. That dog don’t hunt with me.

When situations like this happen with me, I like to have the one that raises the issue get with a small subset of interested parties to come up with a resolution to the issue, and hold the person who raised the issue accountable for reporting back to the rest of the team as to the resolution. What I’ve found in doing this is that the quality of the solution is much better than a solution that any one person could have come up with because the interested stakeholders have all put their thumb-print on the resolution.

Next time one of your team members raises an issue, consider putting the issue back to a few of your team members, asking the person who raised the issue to drive resolution to the issue, and reporting back to the team the proposed resolution. You’ll get a better quality resolution and you’ll reduce churn with the team.


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What I Do At Work Matters!

What I Do At Work Matters!

What I Do At Work Matters!

How does an employee know if s/he fits into a company? In all the jobs, I have had, I always thought about how what I did fit into the company’s as well as my goals. Lately, I have read about employers in a variety of fields complaining that they cannot find good employees. I say to myself, maybe the employee is not the problem; perhaps it is the employer, the hiring and/or training process.

I believe that most employees don’t know how their skills and expertise fit into an organization’s mission statement, product, service or core values. Without knowing that, how can an employee make sure that the job is the best fit for everyone involved? I have read about creating culture and hiring for culture within organizations. At the beginning it may be about the hours, pay, benefits and culture of the company that keeps people. As time goes on, I believe finding and keeping employees vested in an organization is vital. New hires and long-term employees need to know not only “where they fit in”, but also “how what they do fits in” to serving the organization’s clients, guests, customers or vision/mission.

For example, years ago I went from working for a regional pharmaceutical wholesaler as a salaried customer service supervisor, to working for a national pharmaceutical wholesaler as an hourly order filler. After a few months at the national wholesaler, my mother would frequently ask me “when are you going to stop schlepping boxes for a living?” Schlepping is the Yiddish word for hauling or carrying something. I said “I do not just schlep boxes for a living. I fill orders that go to hospitals in the five-state area and when I do my job properly those patients get the medications they need.” Like only a mother can do, she raised an eyebrow at me and the conversation was over.

About two weeks later, we went and visited one of her friends at the hospital, which happened to be one of my company’s customers. As soon as I walked in Joanie said “Cece, look I have my Duragesic patch and my morphine pump.” I smiled at her and said “I noticed and you know they came from my company.” We continued with the visit. When my mother and I were driving out of the hospital’s parking lot, I said “those drugs she mentioned, my hands touched. I received them into my area of the warehouse, I put them away, and when the hospital made its daily order, I filled it. I do not schlep boxes for a living. I make sure that the hospital has the medications that it needs to treat patients, people who are someone’s parent, relative, child, friend, or co-worker. She never asked me again when I was going to stop schlepping boxes for a living. I knew how what I did mattered and how I fit in. I was never just an order filler. I considered myself an important part of helping someone get well, live better or die easier.

It was the essence of what we did as a wholesaler: put the right pharmaceuticals, in the right box, in the time allotted and get them delivered to the right hospital. I think businesses have trouble finding and keeping employees after the basics of compensation and benefits are taken care of, because they do not distill it down to how each action of the employee has an impact. It is the collective action of all those employees each day, repeatedly, which makes for successful companies.

Companies spend millions of dollars training employees and it is usually good training. What I am suggesting is taking it deeper and showing the employees how what they do fits in. Using the pharmaceutical wholesaler as an example, if I had been the warehouse supervisor, I would have taken every hourly order filler to the hospitals and to the people who ordered the pharmaceuticals. I would have walked them through the different wings of the hospital. I would have shown them the Pyxis drug distribution systems within the hospital where the product s/he put in the box went and were distributed from.

Let me give you another extreme example of I knew “how what I did fit in” while working at a restaurant. I took a call from a woman who wanted her brother to be part of her wedding and wanted it to be through her cake. Little did I know that her brother had died; all I knew was that she wanted some of his doodles on her cake. When she told me about his death, at first shock and awe hit. How can I do this and not disappoint? After a few conversations, I felt I understood her need. The night of the wedding the server took the cake out to all the guests and I never heard a word, good or bad from him or her. A few weeks later, an email arrived thanking me for bringing her brother’s doodles into the wedding. She said it was exactly what she had hoped for. I still have that email.

As a pastry chef, I was always in the kitchen and rarely spoke with the guests or ever heard from them. It did not matter. I knew “how what I did fit in.” Every day when I went to work, knowing each item I baked was going to be part of a celebration, a business event, a wedding, a birthday, and even a break from work mattered. I did not need to meet these guests because I knew if I did my job they would become repeat customers.

In both those fields being on one’s feet all day, working under pressure, having the ability to prioritize, and time management are critical skills necessary to complete the work. Knowing how what I do fits in requires those skills and more: compassion, patience, attention to detail, and valuing one’s work for its connection to others. The next time I hear someone complain about being unable to find good employees, I am going to ask: Do you train and hire employees in how what they do fits in to the company’s vision and mission? If not, maybe now is the time to start.

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