Monthly Archives: September 2008

Beyond “People Skills” to Relationship Intelligence ™

by Jim Cathcart

There must be 100,000 trainers, speakers and authors out there teaching people how to be more successful in dealing with others. And maybe I’m being small minded in choosing such a low number.
All I know is, when I started teaching “interpersonal communication” in the mid 1970s there were very few of us doing so. The Dale Carnegie Course still seemed new to many people despite having existed for a generation. Clients were still surprized when we suggested that they actually teach people how to: listen, communicate two-ways, understand personality differences, and manage tension levels in their communication.
In fact, in 1976 when I joined the National Speakers Association there were only a couple of hundred members. Today they have over 3,600 members. The American Society for Training & Development, ASTD, was also fairly new when I joined them in 1974. They, too, are now an international organization with tens of thousands of members.

So, in light of the fact that there is a multitude of resources to help you learn “People Skills”, let’s take it to the next level. Relationship Intelligence ™.

Premise: Your life is a series of Relationships
Our lives are lived through interactions with others.

Conclusion: If you change the mix, quality or quantity of your relationships then you will, in fact, change your life experience.

So, being more Intelligent about which relationships you develop and which you do not will have a profound effect on the quality of your life.

Complete the following sentence: “It is not what you know that counts, it is…”

Most people would answer: “It is Who you know.”

So, try this one: “It is not who you know that counts, it is…”

My recent audiences have replied, “It is who knows You!”

OK, so far we have been in familiar territory. No news yet.
Complete this sentence please: “It is not who knows you that counts, it is…”

When I ask this in my speeches and seminars nobody responds. They just look puzzled.
“You mean it isn’t who knows you? Then what does really count?”

Here is my reply: “It is who is Glad that they know you that counts the most.”
You see, until others are actually glad that they know you, you don’t have much of a relationship with them. But when you cause others to be proud of the fact that you are their friend, business contact, colleague, neighbor, healthcare provider, sales rep, service technician, or advisor…then you have built a true relationship asset.

I recently did a Tandem Sky Dive from 13,000 feet with a master jumper named Victor. I can guarantee you that, for the duration of our jump, Victor’s welfare mattered as much to me as my own. Some relationships are situation specific while others endure for the long term.

Relationships are Assets…or liabilities.

By knowing some people you open new doors of potential, by knowing others you close those doors. Ask Barack Obama how he feels about having a long-term friendship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. What may once have been an asset, has in recent months become a profound liability. It matters who we connect with and who we avoid.
Take a look at all of the relationships in your life today and then reflect on which ones are assets and which are not. If you spend more time with the assets and diminish your contacts with the liabilities, then you will have consciously and intentionally enhanced your life.

Those are two very important words: Consciously and Intentionally.
I believe that we need to be more conscious of what is working and not working. As Peter Drucker often said, “Things that are measured tend to improve.” When we stop and reflect on things we notice more about them, and noticing more is the essence of intelligence.
We also need to become more intentional about what we do.
Professionals in every field are more likely than others in that field to make each action intentional. The most obvious of these would be sports and theater. In competitive sports every movement counts. Tennis professionals will tell you that, while awaiting a serve, not only does the placement of your feet matter, but so does where you look. Michael Phelps, the world champion swimmer, often describes how every movement and every thought needs to be intentional in competition. Actors strive to control their eye movement, vocal tones, body language and breathing when on stage. The same things count in business dealings and interpersonal situations. Politicians learn to be intensely aware of how they say things and what the implications of their actions may be.

No, I’m not saying that we need to be “always On”, but rather, I’m observing that the more often we are conscious of what we are doing and intentional in how we do it, the more often we will succeed at our task. To try to be “on” in everything we do would be very stressful and often unnecessary.

But there are levels of control that always must be in play. There are no circumstances where it is OK to do something that is illegal or immoral. So, the more we pay attention the better off we will be.

Who is glad that they know you?

The more names you can list under that heading the more assets you will have. Relationship Assets that is.
What is a “relationship asset?” It is a direct connection with someone else who also considers it important to sustain that connection with you.
Take some time to reflect on that. Make a list of all the connections you can think of in your life and then notice the ones where they feel they are getting good value from the connection.

Did you ever know someone who was really good at “people skills” and yet their success in life was quite limited? How about this, did you ever know someone who often behaved like a jerk but still managed to gain the respect and support of other people who mattered to their success? Sometimes the jerks become highly successful despite their sometimes abrasive behavior.
Note that I did not say “because of it” but rather I said “despite” it.
Bad dealings with others always has a negative effect and the better we become at interpersonal relations the more enjoyable our lives will be. But success isn’t determined by nice dealings, it is determined by right actions at the right times with the right people.

Here are four questions that are at the core of my Relationship Intelligence message:
1. What do you want?
(love, friendship, fun, money, support, opportunity, a contract, etc.)
All relationships are defined by what the participants want from the relationship.
2. Who do you know?
When you know the right people you are in a position to produce the outcomes you desire.
3. What do they want?
The better you understand their goals, desires and dreams the more you can see ways to help them get it.
4. How can you help them get what they want?
Customer loyalty should be what we seek to give rather than what we seek to get. As my friend and mentor Zig Ziglar is famous for saying, “You can get anything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Take some time to reflect on today’s message. Print it out and carry it with you. Look over it again each morning and think about what it means to you. Do this for at least one month. Then drop me a note and let me know how you have changed things in your life.
Watch for more news on my upcoming book: Who is glad that they know you?
Building High-Value Relationships through increasing your “Relationship Intelligence ™.”

http://www.cathcart.com

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Filed under Behavioral Economics, Books by Jim Cathcart, High-Value Relationships, Inner Circles, Leadership, Relationship Assets, Relationship Intelligence Formula, Relationship Intelligence Training, relationship selling, The Daily Question

The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court

by Jim Cathcart

Last night I had the privilege of attending “A Conversation” with Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas. The event was held at Pepperdine University and was what the School of Law calls “The Second Annual William French Smith Memorial Lecture.”

Justice Thomas, Dean Starr, Associate Dean Shelley Saxer and Charles Eskridge III in Conversation (side view)

Justice Thomas, Dean Starr, Associate Dean Shelley Saxer and Charles Eskridge III in Conversation (side view)


The Dean of the School of Law is Kenneth W. Starr, a delightful and brilliant man whom I’ve come to know in the past few years since he accepted the appointment here. He has been a guest at my Sherwood Parlor Salon Discussion and Paula and I enjoy spending time with Ken and Alice Starr.
Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law

Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law

Yesterday’s event was inspiring on many levels. Justice Thomas spoke candidly about how he makes decisions, who he admires, what his daily life is like, where he grew up, how he has dealt with prejudice and injustice in his own life, his own Christian Faith and more. He truly open the robes and showed us who he was.
The surprizing thing is we discovered that he is not only brilliant, he’s also funny!
His humor and playfulness made it clear to all that he was happy to be there, in a great mood and having a good time.

He told us that one way in which he indoctrinates his new law clerks is to have them watch movies with him. Some of his favorites for this purpose are: Fountainhead, 300, Gods & Generals, and Saving Private Ryan. He singled out one special quote from Saving Private Ryan. After all the lives had been lost in effecting Ryan’s rescue, one of his rescuers said to him, “Earn it.” In other words, conduct your life in such a way that all this sacrifice is justified. Earn the salvation you’ve received.

He also said to us, “My law clerks are here to help me live up to my Oath. That is their job description.” I love that! The job is not the collection of tasks, it is the reason the tasks matter.
More people need to adopt that attitude, in my opinion. Job descriptions needn’t be mere lists of tasks, but rather should be statements of purpose. “Here is why your work is worthy of being paid for and here are the areas of your responsibility.” That gives people a better understanding of their real job, not just their duties.

After the conversation the Justice came over to the side of the room where Paula and I had the privilege of sitting on the front row and he greeted us individually. When he shook my hand he noticed my Speaker Hall of Fame ring and commented on it. He was truly connecting with people not merely greeting them in a token manner. An impressive fellow for sure.

Justice Thomas said that he studies the history and circumstances that existed when the Constitution and its related documents were written. He does this so that he captures, as much as possible, the original intent, instead of imposing his own opinion into the interpretation.
That, I believe, is why we need to teach American History and the foundation of our nation to all generations in perpetuity. The only way to preserve America is to teach each new generation not just what it is, but also why it exists and how unique that is in the history of the world.

Thank God for people with the character and humility of Justice Thomas.
To obtain a copy of his book “My Grandfather’s Son”, click here. I bought one yesterday and find it easy reading (with lawyers that is a major consideration) and a great insight into the making of a remarkable leader.

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