The Three Pillars of Relationship – and Why You Should Care

Some of you reading the “R” word will wonder why I address this as a business coach.  The better question is how could I not?  There is virtually nowhere that we operate in life and business that a relationship with another human does not come into play.  Indeed, there is very little we want in life and business that does not involve another human being.

Some of what I coach to – and most the trainings I facilitate – are on what some people call “the soft skills.”  I once heard a speaker say, “the soft skills are the hard skills.”  And I believe this is to be true.  Soft skills are largely relationship skills.  Relationship skills are imperative in business.  Some people seem to believe that there is no “skill” to good relationships.  And this creates difficulty.  The lack of relationship skills is usually the reason people are fired from or lose their jobs.  Study after study shows it is not the technical skill set that is missing when problems arise at work.  It is the inability to relate well to other people.

How often when I go into businesses or I coach executives do I hear:  “she doesn’t communicate,” “she is late but she never tells me she will be late,” “he is too arrogant,” “he doesn’t show up on time,” “no one wants to work for/with him.”  And from the staff: “I don’t understand what they want from me,” “I get assignments from 3 different people, but I don’t know which is the most important and I am afraid to ask.”

We work on teams.  We supervise.  We are supervised.  We sell our services and goods to people.  We buy from people.  If you want a good result at work, you need your people to perform – and well.  If you don’t support your relationships with them, this will not be the case.

The point of our post this week – pay attention to relationships.  All of them.

After you pay attention to them – after you look and see which are the most important to you in terms of the results that you want to generate – then check and see how they are doing.  One of the most important things I have ever learned – and I relearn it with some frequency – is that relationships require intention and work.  They do not manage themselves.  It is similar to what we have learned about intention in prior blog posts.  You can get up in the morning and decide how your day is going to go, and then take action to create the results you decide you will create; or you can show up and do your best.  The second way is not bad and often yields fairly decent results.  But the first way if far more likely to get you what you say you want.  The most effective way to be in relationships is decide what you want and decide to facilitate it.  This will vastly improve the results that are dependent on the relationship – results like getting projects done on time, keeping customers happy, making a profit, peace and happiness in your family.  Of course all this is true in business as well as personal relationships.

There are three pillars to relationship.  I will address them in the coming months.

  1. Communication
  2. Commitment
  3. Trust

Neither is more important than the other and they are highly interrelated.  I first learned this concept as the 3-legged stool which is a nice way to see it because if one leg is wobbly, the stool is not stable.

To summarize, your homework for today:

1.  Notice which relationships are most important to you.  This does NOT mean the ones with people whom you like the most or are friends with.  The question is – given all the results you want to generate in your business, which relationships are necessary to you?  You may want to make a list.

2.  Honestly assess – how are these relationships doing?  One way to assess is ask yourself if you are getting the results you want from the relationship.  Another way may be to go through the pillars and asses your level of trust, communication and commitment in the relationship.

Our next blog post will start with specifics of the pillars – how you know if they are working and what you can do.