Old friends are simultaneously common and unique. A buddy from the playground, relationships based on college mischief, young mothers crying together at the kindergarten bus on the first day of school all become old friends! Longevity ultimately strengthens these personal relationships. But, when connections evolve into professional relationships, expectations exponentially increase. Then, highly valued results are expected. However, old friends are inherently trustworthy. If trust had been compromised, then they would have parted ways earlier. But, what about new friends? How long does it take for new relationships to earn deep, deep trust that results in substantial business success?
Trust can be tricky. Longstanding partnerships disintegrate over a petty misunderstanding. Absolute trust emerges from a conference Happy Hour that sustains an informal partnership for decades. Whether it is secrets following indiscretions, or fortuitous long-term profits because of an instinctive desire to cooperate, once the experience of opportunity and growth takes hold, the bond can be hard to separate. Accountability is knowing that your colleague will uphold their end of the agreement. Whether the ironclad trust develops over weeks or years, it is hard to separate as long as it performs.
In fact, time becomes less consequential. Trust dominates. Your grad school buddy who left you with the lunch tab 25 years ago is still great for old stories. Yet, that club sandwich and iced tea still does not sit well in your gut for unspoken reasons regardless of how many six figure commissions have been earned. Longevity does not sustain trust. Trust endures on its own. When it is established, it is hard to kill. Once it is gone, it is hard to resurrect. Brand New Old Friends have power because the connection is alive. The relationship endures, as well as the benefits. Brand new relationships can establish power and sustain wealth once results strengthen the foundation.
New Old Friends
Old friends used to mean that an established relationship exists. Such relationships could easily go back decades for seasoned professionals. However, relationships evolve and perform at a much faster rate among younger professionals. In some professional circles, “I Love You” is a common farewell statement, where two generations ago it was a profession of a potential long-term, intimate commitment. From a business development perspective, results drive relationships. Longevity matters. Results matter more! What have you done for me lately? What can you do for me today?
Conversely, such results-driven relationships exert pressure on performance. Two professionals in a networking group may have been college classmates, but continued invitations are still based on the quality of the next connection. Consequently, to maximize value through connectivity and relationships, professionals have to engage intentionally such that connections, referrals and confirmations exchange with minimal friction. Personal relationships need to be connected digitally as well as personally. Monitoring relationships on social media, whether Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or more proprietary channels, rely on avenues that capture progress and credible outcomes. Participation in key. Even if all deals do not appear on your feed, your inner circle need to circulate intentionally key contacts experiencing success.
Business success may be fickle, but it does communicate. Once Miss Big Shot begins to be quoted in business periodicals, and her social media images regularly shows her behind podiums at spectacular locations, the evidence that her star has irrefutable. Vacations now coincide with paid speaking engagements. Brand New Old Friends who deliberately raise their profile often benefit from new rapidly forming relationships that reflect their change in fortune. For Old Friends who are encroaching on irrelevance, retrieving prosperity may require locating new opportunities. Find a new leisure location, a more relevant networking group, or a high profile philanthropic opportunity. A Brand New Old Friend is in the marketplace seeking additional connectivity. Be available to deliver that in exchange for newer, more prosperous opportunities.
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director, Hunter And Beyond, LLC