“When we are planning for a conversation or meeting, typically we think about the task and objectives. But how much time do we plan the relationship?…how can we connect at a deeper level…?”
These lines jumped out at me as I recently read excerpts of an interview conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) with Soon Ang, who is a recognized world authority in Cultural Intelligence and global leadership.
While the interview delves into Ang’s research and expertise in Cultural Intelligence, she points out that culture encompasses national culture – and so much more.
A range of diversity, like age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and many more factors are in play.
In agency new business, a lot of focus – a LOT of focus – goes into planning the meeting discussion and presentation, but indeed, how much time goes into planning for establishing a genuine connection and fostering that relationship?
As the CCL interview reflects, expatriates were those who were working with other cultures a decade or two ago.
Given all the cultural factors that include, and go beyond nationality, almost all of us need to be aware of them on a daily basis now.
This by no means calls for “walking on eggshells” around cultural sensitivities, but having awareness and respect for each other’s uniqueness.
Genuinely having such awareness and respect can be a differentiating strength in building deep, sustainable relationships. This is true, regardless of the extent of cultural variables in play.
Keeping it “simple”, as you plan for your next agency new business meeting, will you also plan for the relationship?
One good reference is a post by Small Business Trends, 11 Ways to Build Solid, Strong, Lasting Business Relationships. While this post doesn’t quite get to that notion of cultural awareness, it does offer strong recommendations for establishing strong, long-lasting business relationships. Among them:
- Be Authentic
- Identify Shared Goals and Values
- Build Mutual Respect
And, of course, time is a central component of relationship building.
The quote at the beginning of this post presents sort of a trick-question, “…how much time do we plan the relationship?”
Regardless of cultural variables, relationships develop over time. They don’t go from zero to “solid, strong, lasting” over the course of an introductory new business meeting.
Consider how to make a strong genuine connection that creates opportunity for the relationship to grow over time.
Make sure you are genuine and authentic from the outset…and always!