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Business is relationship work

There are countless companies, industries, working methods, structures and goals. But they all have one thing in common: people. Behind every company there is a group of individuals who work collectively towards the company’s goals. As a manager of a company, you are always a manager of people. Relationship work is therefore essential if you are aiming for high performance. Internally, a human connection must be built with employees in order to create a pleasant and, above all, productive working atmosphere. A manager is more than just a manager of “human resources” – he is a guide, psychologist, friend and much more. The art of good leadership is knowing when which character is needed. But relationship work radiates in all imaginable directions. ‘Networking’ is a common term for everyone. It describes relationship work with customers. This is long, especially in the B2B sector, and can take several months and years, depending on the product. Nevertheless, the advantage of such a strong bond is that the relationships last an enormously long time and form the basis for years of cooperation. But it is not only when working with customers that a CEO needs to maintain serious relationships. No matter in what context a relationship is built, it is important that each person is viewed with the same genuine interest and commitment. Building relationships for high performance does not work platonically. You have to make a real investment in the other person in order to know their true interests, work types, interests, needs and problems. In our work as business transformers, relationship work with people is always at the beginning of everything. This begins with the composition of our team, where we only accept applicants who are a good fit for us on a personal level. That is why we are a small but very strong and well-coordinated team. With customers, we also start with people. We transform companies from the inside out of each individual employee: we first transform people by getting to know them. This consequently leads to a new way of working that can ultimately transform the entire company, in line with our guiding principle: People > Action > System. In the post picture you can see me with Hans-Uwe L. Köhler at a GSA networking event. Mr. Köhler is a great, internationally recognized speaker who has been shaping the consulting industry for more than 20 years with works such as “Selling is like love”. He has always been an inspiration to me because he shares the approach of putting people and their performance at the center. This shared philosophy, coupled with a genuine mutual interest, gave us an immediate human connection and laid the foundation for a professional relationship. Relationship work in the digital dimension

The present is digital. At the latest after Covid put a stop to our plans, we can no longer rely on building our relationships the way we are used to: namely face-to-face. Most business relationships are made at events, trade fairs or at lectures. And there especially in the phases between the actual content: at the coffee machine, on the way to the parking lot, and so on. In times of virtual work and life, such situations unfortunately no longer exist, which of course makes interpersonal closeness more difficult. At ATES, we have always attached great importance to meeting regularly in the office to share our energy, motivation and our joy in working with one another. We firmly believe that this is how special potential can be developed and therefore encourage the occasional chat “between the door and the doorpost” because we have had good experiences with it. However, we also have a business partner in the USA with whom we always maintain close contact and have an equally good business relationship. So we are doing exactly what many people are finding difficult at the moment: we remain one, even though we are dispersed. Here are a few of our tricks that I would like to pass on to you.

Bring moments of “on the doorstep” into the digital sphere. Why should we miss out on the beautiful moments in our everyday lives just because we may not be able to see each other physically? In our online meetings, we always leave room for small conversations and fun – ideally at the end, i.e. after we have already achieved the goals of the meeting. This way, we start the following solo and team work phases with a smile.

Stay available to each other. We know full well that if we are not face to face, it is difficult to assess what is going on with the other person. But we can rely on the fact that we are always available if there is an acute situation. We have never specifically agreed on this, but it resonates in our basic work attitude and in the respect we have for each other. Sometimes just a few minutes of our own time are enough to solve a big problem for a business partner or customer. We take this time and notice that it not only works great, but is also very well received.

Introduce a regular catching-up meeting. So that we don’t lose sight of each other and are always up to date, we meet every week for Holy Hour. This is the “holy hour” of the week in which we exchange ideas, discuss results and goals, and give each other feedback as a team. The time intervals are of course just as variable as the type and number of participants. We have meetings like this with the team in a similar form with all our customers and partners, and this always allows us to move forward in a structured and effective way.

Keep the common goal in mind. If everyone pursues a common goal and focuses all their work on it, you automatically stay close to one another. Always remind your team of what you have achieved together and what you want to achieve together, and in this way turn all employees, no matter how scattered they may be in virtual space, into an energetic unit.

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