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Trusting relationships go a long way to solving some of the prickliest problems.


All too often people with differing opinions take sides instead of finding the common ground among the diversity of thought.

In today’s connected business environment, it takes a village of people working together to bring brilliant solutions to market. Those ideas and decisions are built through the network of conversations.

Sometimes in the haste to get things done, those curt emails, and superficial conversations may not be helping you and your colleagues make the best decisions.

Could your speed to action be short circuiting your conversations and trampling on the very ideas you need to bring stellar results?

Here are five simple ways to cultivate respectful and trusting business connections.

Make Time for People

Many leaders are uncomfortable or say they don’t have the time to network.

Building trusting relationships is a key ingredient in achieving desired outcomes. Make a point to network and connect with others on a variety of topics, not just the ones you want to discuss.

Get to know people and attend to both the technical and emotional aspects of the conversation. An extra few minutes of conversation can go a long way to understanding how people think and approach their work.

Welcome Diversity of Thought

Start by creating a safe place for people to share ideas.

This may mean stepping out of your comfort zone and approaching problems differently. It means finding common ground from which to build a relationship while leaving ample room for differences of opinions to emerge.

When people see you want to make it work, despite the differences, they are more apt to engage with you.

Show Interest and Curiosity

Bring an energy and curiosity to your conversations. Be interested in what others have to say.

Come prepared with interesting questions to get others talking. Ask people about what they think, what they are passionate about and what matters to them.

When people recognize you are interested in their input, they will be more apt to share their ideas.

Create a Dialogue Versus a Monologue

A good conversation has a rhythm and exchange of ideas versus one person droning on and on.

Check to see if you are listening as much as you are speaking.

“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” – Andy Stanley

Stay in Touch

Make connections throughout the organization from the shop floor to the executive suite. Each person has a story and viewpoint — the truth lies somewhere in between.

Approach these conversations with a purpose. When you finally get the time to connect, pay attention versus getting distracted by what’s next.

Developing connections goes beyond the conversation. Follow up promptly on action items and be sure to stay in touch by sending interesting tidbits of information.

Shift your mindset and get connected with those in your “village.”

Better conversations will aid in developing stronger relationships.

Then you will be positioned to take on the more sensitive subjects with ease.