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Create value through valuable relationships


The value of a business (and a life) lies in the value of its relationships. We judge professionals and companies on their results, but good personal and organizational performance originates from the ability to create intense and lasting bonds. Relationship capital is one of the most important assets of companies and whoever works in them.

Over time we have realized that there are relationships that barely add value, relationships we have given too much time from our lives and or careers. Meanwhile other relationships really of value to us have received less attention than they deserved. We have become people who crave valuable bonds that prove to be meaningful from any way we look at it: emotional, intellectual, professional, economic, and more.

At this stage of our careers, time management doesn’t centre on the question: "What do I devote my day to?" Instead it’s about, "Who do I make room for in my agenda?" As Aristotle said, the most esteemed goals are not achieved by ourselves, but through others. Choosing relationships, taking care of them and cultivating them over time become a priority for a mature professional.

More and more organizations seek this ability to generate high value-added relationships in their managers, starting with their employees themselves. As a matter of fact, in the face of poor results, what’s not usually accepted is the excuse that the team is not engaged. If a relationship is low intensity, the first thing to ask is what the head or supervisor is doing to create an environment with more valuable relationships.

In professional environments, the attitudes of those who perform their tasks in an engaged manner and those who limit themselves to merely doing their duty are utterly plain to see. Performance among the first lot is far higher than what their skills would suggest. In the second group, even with people who have extensive experience and outstanding qualities, at best we find they perform to expected levels.

These are classic cases of people we come across in their professional environment who seem rather grey, mundane, and hardly creative. Later we observe them in some area of their private lives (developing a hobby, a sport, etc.) and we discover they are creative, impulsive and show great leadership skills. The contrast stems from how in the first instance they merely execute external instructions, whereas in the second they bring their will into play. Wherever we find someone who does what he desires to do, that’s precisely when we behold the expression of everything the person is capable of.

In a fairly complex organization, one of the managers described the situation as thus: "Here there are people who detect problems, others who are a problem, and lastly are the ones who solve problems." This scenario repeats time and time again with nuances in many companies: ingenuity without a true will to reach the organization’s goals becomes a drawback, rather than a help. There are people especially sharp at detecting failures and errors in others, yet very clumsy at finding solutions. On the contrary, whoever has a determined will usually analyses situations from a very practical perspective and offers effective solutions. The first group’s way of thinking is often described by the expression "too much analysis leads to paralysis". The reasoning of the latter group of people who are generally not so brilliant (they tend not to personally shine) move unerringly towards achieving the proposed goals.

Both attitudes are contagious. In fact, when the first profile prevails, we come across low-spirited, reactive, and bureaucratized organizations. People who come with enthusiasm often suffer a cold shower of realism that often leads them to share widespread scepticism. On the contrary, sometimes it’s enough for someone really engaged with the project to transmit to their entire team enthusiasm and draw excellent performance from them.

José Aguilar

José Aguilar López es Doctor en Filosofía (PhD) y Programa de desarrollo directivo (PDD) por el IESE. Socio Director de MindValue. Imparte seminarios y cursos numerosas Universidades y Escuelas de Negocios de Europa y América. En 2006 obtuvo, junto a Javier Fernández Aguado, el premio del Management Internacional Forum al mejor libro de Management del año, por la obra conjunta “La soledad del directivo” (Lid, Madrid, 2006).

Ha participado, en calidad de autor, coordinador o coautor en los trece libros. Es colaborador habitual en diarios, revistas de información económica, radio y TV.

José Aguilar is a Managing Partner of MindValue - a company specialized in professional services for C-level management - and the VP of the International Association of Management Studies (Asociación Internacional de Estudios sobre Management - ASIEMA). He is also a management coach and a senior member of the club, Top Ten Management Spain. He is recognized as one of the key Spanish experts in change management consultancy and training.

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