At a meeting of the local city council, an economic development representative from the neighboring community was on the agenda. It was a goodwill visit – just providing updates and not asking for anything at this juncture – but it went a long way to prime the relationship so that it is solid when the time does come for a favor.

Here are some examples of how he did so:

  • Showered great appreciation to the mayor and city administrator for the time allocation on the agenda
  • Shared highlights of economic development success – and gave the council credit as “part of a team that worked together.”
  • Showed deference to all the city officials, referring to them by their formal titles
  • Promised that he would be “candid and unvarnished” in his report and answers to questions
  • Answered with “excellent question” to all of his queries
  • Ended with the statement: “If you are ever feeling down, call me to make you feel good. Seriously, you folks are great. Keep doing what you’re doing.”

He spoke for less than five minutes, but that time was well invested. The council knows who he is, knows that he knows who they are and that he sees them as partners in the economic development efforts. The next time he does need something – and surely, he will – he’s starting from a positive position instead of from scratch.

Think about the relationships that may benefit you down the road. The time is now to invest in them, rather than waiting until you need a favor. Make it a resolution to do a goodwill visit and purely show appreciation to one of your partners, with no immediate requests.

Photo by Christina Morillo

 

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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