We had yet another meeting with Ted, our architect, today. It should have been a very difficult conversation. It’s not so much that our remodeling project is running late (whose doesn’t?) but the fact that our kitchen, which was installed last summer, is never completed. It’s like the Golden Gate bridge (or Firth of Forth bridge for our UK readers); no sooner is something finished than something else needs touching up, or changing, or replacing, in a seemingly never-ending cycle.
Against the odds, today’s meeting, like all our earlier meetings, was not difficult. That’s because Ted has extraordinary relationship management skills, and as a consequence nothing is ever difficult. It may be slightly uncomfortable at times, and he’s certainly no push over, but difficult subjects never feel personal or tricky.
I’ve analyzed Ted’s behaviors over the last couple of years, to identify exactly what it is that he does that makes him so great at client relationships. I’ve observed that what he does is very simple and yet totally effective. I can boil it down to 5 simple steps:
1. He listens well
2. He never arrives late
3. He always responds to emails and phone calls
4. He tells the truth relentlessly, even if it doesn’t reflect well on him
5. If he says he’s going to do something, I can bet my first born that he will do it.
Pretty simple right?
But everyone of those 5 things is hard to do, and even harder to do consistently.
I often gather 360 feedback on my clients. I’d say that 75% of the negative feedback I hear about executives relates to one of the 5 points above in some guise or another.
How about putting these 5 simple steps into practice this week, and then observing the impact that it has on your relationships.
And don’t limit it to the workplace. I’m sure your friends and family will also appreciate the relationship tune-up.
Let me know how you get on.