With the vast amount of information provided on the internet and countless other resources it has become easy for organizations to “go it alone,” in their journey to success. Unfortunately, the chance of a company or organization making it on their own is slim to none. The simple truth is that in order to succeed organizations must establish unyielding internal and external relationships. There are many factors which help organizational leaders and managers to establish and maintain good internal and external relationships. There a few key actions that an organization must commit and continue in order to establish and maintain good relationships for partnering.
Building strong relationships with others is the best way to build up a strong network, but in the words of Kathleen Barton, “A strong business network is like a tree. If you get busy and don’t nurture the relationships the tree will wither and die. On the other hand, if you nurture the network it will flourish.” Once a person becomes part of an organization it is essential that the individual establish their place within that organization and to develop internal relationships which will lead to professional success. The first thing that an individual must do once they have become involved in an organization is to communicate frequently. Communication can be done through email, phone, face to face, and note leaving, all valid and effective ways of keeping in contact. As a leader it is important to ad incentives to work. It doesn’t matter if the incentive is just a feeling of accomplishment, a financial incentive, or a simple positive remark, however, by rewarding co-workers the workplace can be successful. Another effective device in building internal relationships is to hold special events like department meetings to discuss progress and issues. Social events that don’t revolve around work can also develop relationships. Internal relationships can be easily established and sustained with mutual respect and cooperation.
Unfortunately, building and sustaining external relationships can be a little bit more difficult. The first step in developing these relationships is to go to conferences and key industry functions in order to network. In these types of situations the individual should be prepared to socialize and even talk about petty things completely unrelated to work. Additional preparation should be put into learning about the people who will be at the function beforehand, this gives the individual an opportunity to develop an idea of who they would like to meet and how they will allocate their time to networking. It is essential to have business cards in these first meetings. Not only do business cards leave the new contact with a physical thing to remember the individual by but they will also give the new contact the means to get in touch with the individual. In initial conversations the individual should offer their help to new contacts. Rather than demanding help or assistance it is important in these first steps to show the new contact how your relationship can benefit their organization. The next step after the initial meeting would be to follow-up. A simple, “Thank you for your time,” note and a brief message of how your new relationship will benefit the new contact’s organization as well as your own. From this point on the individual should communicate with the new contact on a regular basis to discuss new developments and opportunities for the two organizations to collaborate. Simple progress notes and questions will help maintain the relationship and develop trust.
All in all the development of internal and external relationships isn’t easy. To initiate contact is sometimes not easy. In the hectic work week follow-up can be very demanding. However, it is extremely important for employees and leaders to establish strong relationships. These relationships will not only bring people within the organization together but they will also bring the organization closer with related organizations in collaborations that will lead to business success.
1) Carnegie, D. (1990). How to Win Friends and Influence People. Pocket Publications. New York
2) Gordon, T. (1/05/04) 7 Relationship-Building Strategies for Your Business. Entrepreneur.com, (accessed 9/29/07)
3) Building Business Relationships. (2005). Leading Insight, (accessed 9/29/07)
4) Barton, K., Building and Maintaining Strong Business Relationships. (accessed 9/29/07) < http://www.the-success-connection.com/pdf%20files/Articles/Building%20and%
5) The Top 10 Benefits of Building Business Relationships. (1997). CoachVille. (accessed 9/29/07) < http://topten.org/content/tt.AC40.htm>