Effective Collaboration Begins by Building Relationship Equity First

If you want to multiply your impact, it’s hard to do it by yourself. You need others and I’m not just talking about employees or a team underneath you to help support your efforts.

I’m talking about collaboration to do something bigger TOGETHER than what you could do alone. “Something bigger” could be as grand as launching a new venture or as simple as a guest post on a blog that reaches more people than your own.

It’s what happens when people with shared visions, goals or platforms merge together in some way to create a compounded effect, an effect that is usually mutually beneficial.

Every day I receive emails from people launching books or products or initiatives, people who want me or one of the authors I represent to help them promote their ____. But here’s where they often go wrong. They START with “the ask” instead of starting with the relationship or at minimum a compelling value proposition that benefits all involved. And by “value” I don’t mean money.

Effective collaboration rests on the foundation of relationships and relationships are like a bank account…. you need to make more deposits than you do withdraws in order to earn any interest.

If you reach out to someone from a transactional point of view (just asking them to pimp your stuff) then you’re basically saying “I just want to use you or your platform in order to better myself but I really don’t care about you or your goals.”

Even if you don’t intent that to be the case, your actions may be saying something different.

That’s not a very good or effective approach.

So what’s the right way to do it?

Build relationships first. Figure out what the goals or objectives are of the person or entity you are approaching and try to align your wants with theirs in some way. Create a win-win. Add value. Give, then give some more. Earn trust and then you’ll have the relational equity to make a withdraw, to ask for help or partner in some way.

It’s like the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you’d have done unto you.”

Note that it doesn’t say, “Do unto me and then I’ll do unto you.” It’s the other way around.

Relationships are built by showing we care and that, my friends, is the best place to start.

Question: In what ways do you build relationship equity?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Jon

    Right on – give freely and give first before you even think of making the ask. I like to contact people directly, quietly, and give them the answer or input they've publicly asked. If someone befriends me online I'll go out of my way to learn about them and offer value just to help. No strings. No expectations.

    I think goodwill goes a long way; if you approach marketing and business these days without the hype or sleaze you'll be rewarded with long-standing connections.

  • Nice post – when it comes to online the relationships you build are fundamental. You don't always get quick results but by investing in the relationship and working out what you want from it, you can get so much more than you could hope for!