The Power of Relationship Skills

The Power of Relationship Skills


“The keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.” – Daniel Pink 1

Quietly and subtly over the past decade, a changing of the guard has been underway.

The Old Standard

In the past, most American business people – except for salespeople – were only tangentially interested on relationship building. In business, relationship building was a means to an end, a way to quickly close a deal across the table.

Business executives focused almost solely on the left-brain skills of analysis, quantification, and process. American business schools created tens of thousands of graduates with those analytical and process skills that lacked any sort of interpersonal, empathy, or personal management training.

But today, thriving businesses are beginning to understand that creativity and innovation within solid relationships can offer strategic advantages. 2

Why is this happening?

The analytical “hard” skills of yore are still necessary, but not sufficient to thrive in today’s marketplace. Currently, the drive for analytical and quantification skills is starting to complement a dramatically growing emphasis on the right-brain activities related to vision, mission, strategy, relationship, and communication.

Businesses are finding that they achieve more through their teams when the proper time and energy is spent nurturing the relationships between members, rather than relying on individual skills or tactics. Doing so requires a shift from acquiring more and more technical expertise to developing the communication and relationship skills needed to build a highly-functioning team.

From an external customer and supplier standpoint, businesses are also realizing that they can uncover large amounts of hidden value and potential in the relationships they have already established. Rather than sinking considerable time into making new connections, the organizations that work to establish trust, walk in their partner’s shoes, and share information are able to exponentially grow their existing relationships.

NOTE: Our new book, Five Keys to Powerful Business Relationships, launches November 19th and digs deep into why relationship skills have been undervalued for so long – and how businesses can use them as a competitive advantage moving forward.

Learn more about the book, or pre-order your entire team a copy, through our dedicated website.

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1A Whole New World, by Daniel Pink

2Five Keys to Powerful Business Relationships, by Sallie Sherman, Steve Vucelich, and Joseph Sperry

Photo courtesy of Gabriel Villena.

S4 is a leading relationship management firm that helps business-to-business clients implement strategic account management strategies to their operation.