Coalition work is all about relationships. Although we may have the name of an “organization” listed as our member or partner, we do not work with an organization. In coalition relationships, just like any other relationship, we need to spend time together in order to understand, support and learn from one another. We will also have times in our coalition relationships where there is conflict, misunderstanding and frustration. Although we may be tempted to quit our work and find something that involves working with “widgets” rather than “people,” a primary reason many of us began working in this area is our interest in building relationships. This week, I am beginning a five-week series on coalition relationships. Join me in exploring three keys to building new relationships.
When we connect and engage with new partners, one of the best ways to build the relationship is to take time to get to know the person. As tempting as it may be to share all of the great things your coalition has to offer, start by getting to know what is important to this person (and the organization represented). Stephen Covey once again reminds us “Seek First to Understand, Then Be UnderstoodⓇ.” If you need some ideas and support on asking questions, check out Will Wise’s Book “Ask Powerful Questions.”
Be a connector
When you begin by asking questions and listen attentively to their responses, you know what is important to them. You can then connect them to the people or resources that will be most beneficial to them right now. When you are a connector, you demonstrate interest and concern for that person and their work. Connecting with others who add value = Relationship building with you 🙂
Invite them to participate
Once you know more about them, you can intentionally invite them to participate in coalition-related efforts that align with their efforts. When you provide a personalized invitation to participate, you are showing the importance of the relationship. The initial connections and invitations build a strong foundation for a coalition relationship. You also create win-win opportunities that benefit your new partner and the coalition overall.
So what about you? Which of these three ideas resonate most with you in building new relationships?
If you liked today’s post, you will also be interested in my free resource: 10 Partnership Pitfalls and How to Overcome Them. Download here!