Advice to Collaborators: Nurture Relationships

all about relationshipThese days, everyone is connected. Everyone is into following, liking, endorsing, linking, sharing, updating and so on. That is how we ‘do’ relationships now. So it seems anyway. A flurry of activities such as these may create a sense of relationship and make us feel good, but (and a big ‘but’ at that) is that really how one can build real collaboration? Is it just a matter of semi-automatically clicking a ‘like’ button that will actually draw people closer and allow them to be better at collaboration.

Not convinced? Okay, I’ll concede – a quick acknowledgement such as the ‘like’ button is ok if the relationship is based on something more substantial; a quality conversation for instance. You can know someone for years without actually ever knowing them. Confusing familiarity with knowledge is way too easy now. And it seems that is precisely what is happening. The millions of contacts you have are just that – contacts. A belief that they matter as much as you think is misplaced. People regret many things when on their deathbed. You can bet that wishing they had more likes or followers ain’t going to be one them. Every hour invested in farming more contacts comes with opportunity cost; for instance allocating time to build trust and gain a better insight into your collaborator.

Seasoned operators know the difference between enabling technology and real human needs. Yes, humans are most anxious when in the company of other humans. So, a little bit of help with technology can go a long way. But it cannot do all that is needed to build trust and understanding. In fact there’s plenty of evidence that points to the fact that the very same technology we rely on to interact and build relationships can impede the chances of them happening.

Business collaboration has evolved over the years. I note that there have been major advancements made in terms of technological tools available to businesses. However smart the tools are, they have still not taken into consideration the human factor. Humans build trust through eye-to-eye contact, touch and subtle gestures. This is not about warm and fuzzy stuff: it’s about hard core business stuff. In an economy where we focus on service delivery, rely on each other and share mounting disruptions, trust and good working relationships may make all the difference between success and failure.

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