or…Mapping Internal Relationships

“Good relationships don’t just happen; they take time, patience and two people who truly want to work to be together.”

My sister is a calculating critic and good observer. There are, of course, some character flaws; but in spite of the fact that she married a Kiwi and lives almost at the ultimate end of the planet, she has retained all her faculties! After she had read one of my articles, she made an astute observation. In effect, she said that she understands why I talk about Relationship Engagement with people outside the company, i.e .customers and clients. But, what about people internally? Great observation and it is something that needs addressing. So, I’d like to dedicate this article to her and deal with that issue.

The major focus of my consultancy is about how to plot, measure and target better relationships with clients. I have explained in some early articles on my site how this works. The more I talk with people as I coach and build my own relationships, the more I am reminded that we not only need to map our relationships with our customers and clients, but also we need to to map our internal relationships.

Why? Because we spend so much time considering the outside influences and how to look at our customers, we forget that internal relationships are often key to making things happen. Of course, to make things happen we could get our Supervisor to order it to be done. That might work, but it is often a limited result. In other words; it may work once, but ultimately, the only way things get done is if people believe in and are committed to the same result. That means we need to ensure we have strong internal advocates for what we are trying to accomplish for our clients.

We all intuitively know who are the major players that can help us get things done. But we often don’t either evaluate our relationships with those people nor assess how many of such bases are covered. I have a relationship mapping tool which I have discussed in earlier blogs regarding client relationships. It works for internal relationships too.  To get that process started, just to get a large piece of paper, coordinates3ideally with grid lines, and make a list down the y axis of the key people you interface with inside your company. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, just list the key people you interact with on a regular basis.

Then, in the column of grids or cells next to each name, grade your relationship situation with each of these people…be honest now!

We use a traffic light coding system with rigorous criteria. After you’ve looked at how you fare on this, add names of peers, colleagues, reports and see how well your team’s relationships look. Then look and analyze the grids. What strikes you as being off’? Where’s the work required? What are the weaknesses? Where do you have some work to do?

Now you can put together a list of all the issues and then define the Goals and Key Initiatives. Individually and with your teams, you can quickly define where work is needed and start building the bridges that are so important to getting things done.

Relationship building within your own organization is so often overlooked. It can be the difference between accomplishing your strategic business goals…or not!