Let’s wrap up this year with true good wishes from those we’ve been professionally connected with in 2013. While it’s true most people don’t consciously keep “relationship ledgers” with plusses and minuses noted, the quality of any relationship is based on emotional deposits and withdrawals. When you’ve shown someone a kindness or excelled at a task, good will is deposited into that account. Sometimes it isn’t about what someone does for you, but rather about how good you feel about yourself for helping them – for example, when the relationship is defined as a mentoring opportunity. On the other hand, when your only contact with Mr. Z. is when he needs something from you, over time that emotional bank account becomes overdrawn and you avoid him.
Here are easy, practical actions you can take yet this year to start 2014 on the right side of the ledger – three emotional bank account deposits you might make which will inspire others to view you (and your business) as a “positive experience” this year.
How much do you value a referral? Your vendors highly value them, too. Pick three (or more) business relationships and write an unsolicited testimonial for them to a business you think could benefit from their services, with a “cc” to your contact (and the company CEO). Your end-of-the-year reflection about their service and value to your business will boost your intrinsic account value, regardless of its size. And those vendors you wouldn’t recommend … might it be time to replace them?
People value your reach and willingness to connect them to others. Who can you easily hookup by email for a mutually beneficial purpose? A straightforward win-win connection isn’t always possible, but you want both sides to know the potential you saw in their meeting: “Hey, B, I was thinking again about how much you like horseback riding, and C owns that riding stable I mentioned last month. You both have inspired me in the past, so I wanted to make a personal connection before the year was out. Have interest in grabbing a quick coffee together with me in mid-January?”
Another plus to reviewing who you know: it makes you a better network participant all year long. When you start thinking of yourself as a connector, you become more interested in people’s hobbies, interests, education, board membership, and other “plug ins”. As Dale Carnegie pointed out all those years ago, how much people like you isn’t based on how they feel about you; it’s based on how you make them feel about them.
It is critical for staff retention that non-profit folks are motivated by mission because pay remains, on average, about 30% lower than one would earn doing the same work in the private sector. Consider writing a letter of thanks to your favorite charities at year end – to the staff – telling them why you appreciate the choice they made to do what they do. Tell them why the mission resonates with you and how their efforts have moved you personally, or how their efforts have made the world in general a kinder place. Don’t limit yourself to those you financially support, and if you are worried about getting on “their list” for solicitations, send it anonymously.
Side benefit: Thinking about charitable enterprises reminds us of our blessings and even perhaps how we overcame some adversity in our own lives. Choosing to be mindful that others are still struggling, and being grateful for those who offer assistance when we cannot, is a present to ourselves at year’s end.
Take a moment to reflect on all of the worthwhile things you have accomplished in 2013. You have invested one more year into your own evolution. Celebrate the interesting person you are becoming!
Do you have any tips or suggestions? What else should we be doing before the end of the year. Let’s start a conversation. You can leave your comments below or you can reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook.