Why Influential Relationships Matter
Being a fiercely independent person myself, I was never one to seek for help or ask for mentoring. I wanted my wins to be a reflection of my intelligence, perseverance and creativity. If you feel you also have these personality traits, then I have news for you... While these traits are admirable, this strength of character can also (ironically) be a great weakness. There is a way to still be the master of your own path to success, while permitting those around you with influence and access to accelerate and augment your successes. Let me put it in an example of two brothers, Bob and Rob who move to Alaska to forge an existence in the wilderness outside of Anchorage.
The Story of Two Brothers
Both Bob and Rob were raised to be independent people. The only difference between the two is that Rob spent time learning how to build and nurture influential relationships in his personal and professional life. Let’s see how this impacts their ability to pursue their goals as they relocate to Alaska to build a new life. Both brothers want to achieve the following:
- Build a log home
- Start a small, food related business to provide some income and sustenance
Bob, through research and trial and error, builds many of his own tools to use for building his home – an admirable pursuit. However, as a result of the time to make the tools, and the lower efficiency of the tools, the time to build his home is extended by four months.
Rob, however, being in construction previously, had developed a relationship with the head of product development for Black & Decker. He reached out to his friend and suggested that testing some of their new prototypes in Alaska in the construction of a log home would be the ultimate test of capability and durability. His friend agreed, and sent a full complement of new power tools to him free of charge along with a generator and two other Black & Decker employees to help and document the results.
Bob, without many local connections in Alaska, was largely left to himself to build his home. Occasionally, a neighbor would offer help (Alaskans being friendly people), and he would accept their help when a beam needed to be lifted into place or some other project demanded more than one person. Again, while admirable, the construction was extended another six months as a result.
Rob, being a Boy Scout growing up, connected with the local scout troops in Anchorage when he arrived and told them about his home building project. One of the scout leaders suggested that the boys spend part of the summer helping him with construction in order for the boys to earn their woodwork and home repair merit badges. Another Boy Scout chose to help with construction as his Eagle Scout Project. Between the Eagle Scout project and the merit badges, there were over 40 different people helping Rob throughout the summer to build his home.
When it came time to select and start a business which could provide money and food, Bob decided that agriculture might suit him best. He took out a loan and bought some horses and farming equipment and started working the ground.
When Rob thought about what business to start, he reached out to one of his mentors in Montana who ran a large ranch there to get his opinion. In the discussion, the rancher/mentor suggested that he had always wanted to be part owner of a big game and fishing Expedition Company in Alaska where he could take his executive friends. He offered to put up the money to go into business with Rob, outfitting him with all the necessary equipment, if Rob would agree to run the operation. Rob agreed.
In the end, both brothers achieved their goals. So what was the difference? Bob was able to look at his home and business and know that he did it all on his own, but the risks he took were far greater. It was also ultimately more expensive and time consuming for Bob – and his pursuits had a lower probability of success, both in the short-term and long-term.
Rob, on the other hand, reduced his out-of-pocket expenses, had better equipment and support, and fewer risks of failure. He vastly accelerated his “time-to-success” and “level of success” by leveraging other relationships. And every time he leveraged a relationship, it was a win-win for him and those helping – so everyone benefitted from the exchange.
THE INfluence Board
THE INfluence Board is a new resource for you to meet and develop long-term relationships with the influential leaders who can have the greatest impact on your career and life. Come back often to find new influencers, add influencers that you want to encourage to participate, and to advance your career and personal pursuits!
CEO, THE INfluence Board