Depth > Breadth for building an enduring network. – James Rosseau, Sr.

Build quality relationships with people whom you have something in common.  “Something in common” doesn’t mean you will agree on everything, nor should you.  It is the exchange of ideas and the element of “iron sharpens iron” that proves out the quality of the relationship.

“Something in common” can come in many forms such as an activity you both enjoy, your place of work, your place of worship, etc.  You will only know if that can go deeper by engaging and being willing to discover more common ground.

Leverage this picture as a tool to help focus on the relationships within reach.  While this illustration focuses on a work environment, the framework is applicable in virtually any environment.  To use it, replace the titles with names, aiming for at least three names in each box.  Then without over-thinking it, assign a RAG (Red, Amber, or Green) rating to each relationship.

  • Red: if you have a “transactional,” business-only relationship. This is a less personal relationship that usually focuses on accomplishing specific objectives and tends to stop there.
  • Amber: if you have developed an operationally mature relationship. These are people you meet up with every so often and when you see the relationship developing, you put some effort into getting to know each other better.  As a gauge for Amber (just an example) you know this person has children and you know the names of his/her children.
  • Green: if you have a fluid relationship. These are people you likely have coffee or lunch with regularly.  Your conversations range from work-related matters to more personal interactions.  These are people you “build” with, share ideas with, and even serve each other as accountability partners (formally or informally).

As you finish the grid, do not be surprised if your coloring skews towards Amber/Red.  I have done this exercise with several groups and that is normal.  The good news is that you now have a heightened sense of awareness.

My challenge to you.  Identify three relationships that you will deepen by September 30th, moving them up from Red to Amber, or Amber to Green.  If you need an accountability partner and can’t find one … no problem, email me with your commitment and I will help!

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