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How relationships drive results, now more than ever

The impending end of one of the most stressful years in recent history for organizations both large and small is the perfect time to take stock of how critical cultivating trusting and authentic relationships is to success. This philosophy can be summed up simply as: “relationships drive results.”

As we begin to strategize around how we’ll emerge from these turbulent times, taking a people-centered approach can be one of the surest and steadiest roads to recovery. Building and reinforcing long-lasting, genuine connections has always been a key factor in driving business results, as well as a sense of well-being within the community at-large. The need for both at this time is enormous.

Building trusting relationships – particularly during uncertain times – is characterized by five key components:

1. Listen, really listen. All too often we’re formulating a response and waiting for our turn to respond rather than fully listening to others. Listening is active. Devoting the energy and effort to understand what people are saying, and the emotion informing their comments, helps them feel heard. People feel valued when they feel heard. This is especially true in highly charged environments.

2. Keep your word. Being dependable and accountable to others lets them know they can rely on you. This becomes especially important in a world that seems to be shifting under our feet on a regular basis. And, these don’t need to be grand gestures. Little commitments go a long way. Join the Zoom meeting on time. Reply to the email quickly. Provide that piece of information you promised in a timely manner.

3. Give trust to get trust. Letting people know you trust them builds self-esteem and encourages others to trust you. When we give people the space to demonstrate their best selves, we often find ourselves pleasantly surprised. However, mutual trust cannot be established overnight. It is built through the smallest of actions performed consistently over time.

4. Don’t be afraid of vulnerability. As counterintuitive as it may seem, one of the most effective ways to build trust is to be vulnerable. We are all human. Admitting our imperfections, owning up to our mistakes and asking for help are surefire ways to foster lasting, authentic connections. While demonstrating vulnerability can feel extra risky during times of stress and change – like the world we’ve all found ourselves in during the past nine months – that is precisely the time when it can prove most relatable.

5. Treat people with care and compassion. No matter the circumstances, we should always strive to lift others up, treating them with kindness and grace. We’re all going through and processing a lot right now. Recognizing that everyone has private struggles we often know nothing about can lead to deeper, more authentic relationships, as well as a mutual sense of loyalty.

It’s no secret relationships are important in business; however, their power to have a material impact on results can be overlooked. Whether at the individual, organizational, or community-wide level, successful outcomes start with people and relationships. At their core, after all, organizations and communities are simply a collection of people.

As we reflect on the changes we’ve encountered – and hopefully embraced – during the past nine months and begin planning for 2021, it is an opportune time to appreciate the role our relationships play in helping us successfully move forward and drive results.

Kristin Todd Headshot Kristin Todd is the executive vice president of the Daniels Fund, a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Todd has spent her career leading philanthropic institutions and giving programs. She has been with the Daniels Fund since 2003.