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October 10, 1998

Relate, Relate, Relate

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The shift by the American workforce toward free agency brings with it a tremendous need for developing and/or upgrading your Relational Quotient (RQ). Since people know you are making no promises about their future, how you treat them matters all the more. No matter where you are in the pecking order, you cannot get where you need to go without the help of other stakeholders.
You need people.
And always remember, the larger your vision the bigger your people pool will have to be. Indeed, people have become their own bottom line, and you neglect them to your peril. Upgrading your personal and/or corporate RQ is a practical way to grow the human capital underneath your bottom line.
Furthermore, post-boomer generations simply will not put up with the old ways of working. They demand a work culture where relationships and people are shown respect. Who they work with is as important to them as what they do. The same goes for customers and vendors. It is one huge symbiotic web of relational links. With price squeezed to the max, decisions increasingly come down to relationships built on integrity and trust.
Your relational reliability largely determines the willingness of employees, vendors, and customers to join with you and stay with you. Businesses increasingly face the same predicament of volunteer service organizations: Association is voluntary. So you have to learn to be the kind of person you need others to be for you. The Office Jerk is an endangered species. The Taskmaster must now lead with a velvet hammer. The Hatchet Man who delivers over everybody else’s dead body will come calling the second time only to find that no one returns his call.
The double-edged truth is that both people and the bottom line matter. We know they are inextricably knotted together. When results matter, you have to know how to get other people to help you make results happen. That requires both task focus and people proficiency.

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