More and more functional professions like accounting, IT, procurement, marketing and HR are moving to more business partnering.
Some of this is driven by technology. Some down to changing expectations. Some down to professionals wanting to play a bigger role in the business.
One thing I’ve noticed over the course of my career is just how important relationships are.
Especially with those that you work with across the business.
Of course when we did our training and exams we learned a lot about the technical aspects of our profession.
We gained a lot of knowledge.
On the other hand areas like relationships may have got little or no coverage.
So how can you build better relationships as business partner?
Make it a priority
Seems obvious right?
But let me ask you a question. Do you make it a priority?
Maybe you do or at least try to.
Often the easiest way to make it happen is to schedule it.
Start small and get into the habit of taking time to work on building and enhancing relationships.
Be interested in your clients world
You have clients, even if you work in an organisation.
As a provider of a professional service as a business partner your focus is on helping clients do business better.
The way to do that is to be really interested in your clients world.
What’s the challenges they face? What are they trying to achieve?
By better understanding the answers to these questions the better you can serve your clients.
Get to know them personally and professionally
People are not their job title. They are human beings too.
If focus on getting to know people personally as well as professionally, you will have much better relationships with them.
Accept that you need to adapt your approach
Some that you provide a service to will be very outgoing.
Others may be more introverted.
What’s key is to adapt your approach rather than assuming a one size fits all will work.
Take a longer term approach
Great relationships don’t happen overnight. They take time.
Think in terms of small deposits into your relationship.
Each time you go out of your way to help or deliver what you promised, you make a deposit in the relationship bank.Remember too that relationships take time to build and can easily be destroyed in minutes.