This is not going to be the usual corporate travel site with details about hotels, restaurants and the places to visit while working. Of course I will discuss those things, but that will be the sideline. This site will discuss travel through a different
lens. It will revolve around the people I met and how I built relationships that added to the value of my work and made me successful in my job. I am a relationship builder. This is a skill that is largely underappreciated in the corporate world.
I discovered it is not a skill many people have. I believe every manager should look to develop this skill on their team. Here’s why…..Relationship builders connect teams together, they smooth the path, they influence decisions,
and they make things happen because they know who to go to for hundreds of specific tasks and skills. These people usually do this so smoothly you won’t realize they are even doing it. It happens in the background.
I grew up in a military
family and lived most of my life in the continental US. As a young girl, I was known as a military brat. An expression I did not like much at the time. I have come to appreciate the title because living in this unique subculture greatly
influenced my life. My family moved often, so I had to learn to make new friends or I would not have any playmates. I am pretty sure by the time I was in high school I had over 10,000 hours of practice in meeting new people. This was a honed skill I did not
even know I had. It was simply second nature to me. I was comfortable in ambiguous situations where I did not know people and I could strike up a conversation with anyone with complete confidence. Later in business, I would be surprised over and over
again when people would comment on my ability.
A talented, articulate engineer came to me one day at work and asked for my help. He said, “I need your help schmoozing? I laughed. “What do you mean?” He said something that
took me by total surprise. “I have watched you go into meetings, tell people really bad news and take all kinds of amenities away from them and they walk out of the meeting thanking you. I don’t get it, but I need you to do that for me.”
I said. Let me help clarify. ”This is called relationship building. It does not happen overnight you have to build trust. “
I went to lunch with a trusted colleague one day and he confided in me that he hated it when his boss had meetings
with me. I of course asked him why and he responded by saying “We lost every single negotiation with you and your partner. “ I said “No you didn’t. “ He said “Oh yes we did. I would watch it happen. I would prepare
my boss every time to stand firm on certain issues and he waffled every time.” I really had not seen it that way. My partner and I had won our fair share of negotiations, but I felt we lost some as well. His boss was always trying to pull
one over on us, but we usually found out and stopped the shenanigans, so I understood his perspective. We both started to laugh at the memory but I walked away with a completely different view of myself.
This kind of thing happened fairly regularly
with my colleagues but it was interesting me that management almost never said anything about this ability. When I had finished a major project and was moving on to do different things a colleague came to me and thanked me for all my all
my help and leadership. She said you know you were the glue that held us all together. I smiled and said “I KNOW.” It was the first time I had admitted it publically. I finally understood that I really do know how to build relationships.
I have had years of practice and it is just such a part of who I am it was hard for me to see it as anything special. I now recognize that is an uncommon skill.
In my coming stories about my travels, I will weave in how I built relationships,
developed trust and how it related to my job and how it influenced me.
Let the adventures begin!
Pikes Peak, Colorado
San Juan and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
China – various cities
India - various cities
….and much more