As I work to achieve both my professional and personal goals, I realize more and more how much simpatico there is between successful business practices and achieving success in one’s personal life. In particular, to create mutually beneficial and significant relationships in both your professional and personal lives, the rules are more or less the same. These are some of my best practices garnered from both the good and bad experiences that I’ve had. I believe some of the most important things are:
1. Being social is everything — Put yourself out there. Bring your best self to whatever you do. From a professional standpoint, so much is social media and technology based now. Just because we cannot see the person behind the post or the tweet does not mean we can abandon our humanity. Its perhaps even more important to be social. This one is hard for me because I am so introverted. Nonetheless, I realize how crucial it is which is why I put myself out there so much.
2. Practice integrity — I define integrity as the balance between your words and your actions. Do they match up? If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you make plans with someone, don’t break them unless its absolutely necessary. Be on time. I’ve had problems in the past with procrastination and the like. Its important to not make a pattern out of being late or irresponsible. I recently read this really great article about what to do when you’ve angered someone. The writer states that even though you may have had a good, legitimate reason for being late or missing a date, the person waiting for you only experiences the consequences of your being late, not the events that led up to you being late. The principle of integrity is such an important one and should be the foundation of any relationship.
3. Make an effort — When you try, it shows. I find that when trying to build a professional or personal relationship, going above and beyond in a meaningful, authentic way is often appreciated.
4. Be a giver — Its true that some people are givers and others are takers. But giving (within reason of course) is a good practice to develop. There’s a great deal of conversation and research I see now being published on this very issue.
5. Observation is key — While its true that sometimes you can’t predict when a person is unhappy or angry, a lot of times there are signs. Be clued in to non-verbal cues.
6. Establish boundaries — Be clear on the nature of the relationship and what is expected of each person, party, etc. Repeated boundary crossing is never ok.
7. Little things matter — Things like etiquette, thank you notes, etc. never get old.
8. Remember — Remembering little things like birthdays, names, etc. shows you listen. Always a good thing.
9. Be self-aware — Know your strengths & weaknesses and act accordingly. Knowing what sets you off, what you’re good at, what your weaknesses are, etc. can better able you to handle the ebbs and flows of any relationship, professional, personal or otherwise.
10. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Then fix it and move on — The only thing worse than making a mistake or having an error in judgement is pretending like it didn’t happen, avoiding it or lying about it. Fess up to it, do the best you can to fix it and then continue.
Do you find that there are noticeable parallels between good business and personal relationships? If so, what are your tips?