I had mentioned before how I had the opportunity to attend a webinar based largely on Stephen M.R Covey’s (or Covey Jr as I like to call him) book, The Speed of Trust, and how I found his discussions of the trust dividend versus the trust tax very interesting.

Over the last week I have had a chance to participate in a number of activities that I found to carry through on a similar theme for me at least and I thought I would share that perspective.
As anybody who has read any of my stuff knows I am a big believer in relationships; I think it is important however to distinguish investing in relationships versus transacting. I think of this as “three dimensional” versus “two dimensional” relationships.

Over the last week I have been the beneficiary of several people who took an investment approach.

In the first one, a contacted a gentleman who runs kind of an executive support network, I was bluntly looking for opportunities to connect with some of his client base. I feel like I had value to offer, but he explained to me that the way his particular group is structured my “presentation” approach doesn’t fit. He graciously offered me an invitation to attend anyway as his guest. In the course of that meeting I got to meet two very interesting and talented people. Each of them has gone on to introduce me to other interesting and talented people who they thought might mutually benefit from our association. I have done my best to reciprocate in kind.

In another relationship I have had the opportunity to work with a couple of very committed people to look at the relationships between philanthropy, health care, and communities. We have been discussing and examining this model for probably the better part of 18 months at this point. This week we got to share some of our thoughts with two different groups of people within their organization. The results were similar. Both groups were intrigued and excited about the potential for a model of delivering health care that brings people, care givers, and organizations together to address both health and health care. At the baseline of this model are trust, shared information and investing the time to create a shared vision and define the roles of each stakeholder in the process.

We don’t know whether our “model” will move forward or not in its current form, but the great dividend to date has been the enthusiasm and the creation of an opportunity to collaborate- wherever the model goes.

We are experiencing the long term effects of a significant recession. A lot of people are either unemployed, or underemployed. The word on everybody’s lips these days is networking, and everybody is seeking the perfect recipe. I hate to be a buzz kill, but I don’t think there is one recipe.

I network professionally, it is how I get and retain clients. It is how I discover value added thought partners that I can bring into my portfolio of services. A big part of what I do is creating virtual teams, groups of people who don’t share a common infrastructure to address client’s issues. We might work together multiple times or just once. We have to trust each other and build a common reference point around the client and the goals of the project.

I have been able to “meet” a lot of my virtual teammates on social media or networking sites like LinkedIn or at networking gatherings. I have met others at purely social gatherings. When I respond to questions on LinkedIn or post one (I do this a lot), or I post something on my blog or right an article I have to be honest I rarely have a specific “target”. In a lot of cases I am just seeking to share a perspective or get additional input. It doesn’t mean that I don’t hope that I will see some benefit in the short or long term; it means I rarely expect immediate gratification.

In an organizational context I remember a colleague who created a great tool for evaluating “competing” priorities” or alternatives and which one you should take-

  • Do what is right for the organization
  • Do it as a team
  • Get the right results

What I like about that model is when you do what is right for the organization you look at the broader context, not just what is right for you or your department or the short term, but the whole team.

By focusing on doing it as a team you create a platform for collaboration and shared investment in the outcomes. It isn’t just about you and you are doing something with rather than to people. You are investing not transacting.

If there are multiple ways to get the right result, then there is room for different approaches and if you use the first two as a filter you don’t get invested in win-lose versus win-win scenarios.

Maybe I am overly simplistic, but I think this can be applied in just about every “encounter” we have in our personal and professional lives. You just define the “organization” and the “team”. I like to think it lends itself to creating a trust dividend rather than a trust tax as well.
I guess my point is that when you engage in interactions with others always ask yourself if you are approaching it from the point of view of an investment or a transaction. It makes a difference.

I believe that ultimately it is the quality of our relationships and how we cultivate and nurture them that will define our success or failure as individuals, organizations, and as a society. What do you think…..?


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