We all have professional relationships and these come in many different forms, but what do you actually believe about those professional relationships?
Straight forward, complicated, a tangled mess, top down, peer and sideways, or something else like distant only at conferences once a year. What is our professional relationship and what do they look like?
Here’s something that I coach clients on all the time and that is that when they are making decisions which will impact past, current and all future professional relationships they fail to consider three outcomes to their decision making process.
Outcome number one: If I decide “yes” to a decision what impact will that have on my previous professional relationships? On the surface this may seem like one of those; “Who cares what someone in my past thinks about this decision, it is none of their business!” When in reality, you may have to go back to that person and ask them for a reference, perhaps they will now be your customer, perhaps they are now a perfect partner or affiliate, they may be your direct competition, and they may have great influence in a space that you had no idea they were in due to your relationship with them.
Outcome number two: If you decide “no” to a decision what impact will that have on my professional relationships that I currently have? Once again on the surface you may just blow off this whole topic, but it has direct implications to your ability to earn an income, future growth and vision as to where you want to be in 5 years or 10 years down the road. Our professional relationships are great catalysts to our professional lives. A decision of no, can also mean that you are timid in your skills, ability to do something a new venture may require, that you are afraid of change, a move, a whole new environment in your work place. Perhaps a no is based on your family, spouse, debt and other factors.
Outcome number three: If you decide to “stall” or make no decision at all and just wait for some imaginary thing to be in place and you do not know what that thing is; you are deciding “no”. I have heard phrases like: “…the time isn’t right for me….”; my answer to that is: “….opportunity only knocks once….in these cases….”; “…..I need to be……..”; my answer to that is: “……you will never be any more ready than you are at this moment….”; and my personal favorite: “…..I’m just not sure……..”; my answer is: “….if you are not sure right now, you will not be sure tomorrow, next month or next year….”
We all think we know what is best for us and that we are at the helm of our might professional vessel and we decide where it will go. In reality, it is what we believe about those professional relationships which drive our professional relationships. If you aren’t out there keeping in touch with each and every one of them that can make a difference or more your professional career, you are not attending to your future.
When you travel to any city, look in your list of contacts and see who you know. Send an email or call them and schedule just a short 1:1 visit, coffee, a quick meal and you pay. If you are attending a conference look at the list of attendees and see who is coming that you know. Make contact and reacquaint yourself. Give before you ask for something. Above all do not brag or be condescending about another person or company. That person or company my be your contacts new customer or friend. Lives and relationships are in a constant state of flux.