I was sitting in Swiss Chalet today meeting a group of people for lunch to discuss upcoming funeral plans when I overheard pieces of a conversation that sent my mind spinning forward. Now before you jump to conclusions, I was not purposely eavesdropping, but as I was updating my calendar on my iPod touch, I happened to overhear the people in the booth behind me begin to chat about their work environment. As their conversation continued, I couldn't help but begin to draw several conclusions from what was being shared.
The first emphasis is that relationship is the keystone that underpins absolutely every facet of life. Whether you are looking to succeed in business (people, service industry or otherwise), if your venture is void of relationship it will not succeed. Business is all about customer care. In listening to this conversation I could tell the relationship in this particular work environment was strained. People can smell a rat. When we approach life with anything less than authenticity, we end up finding only pain, emptiness and dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, most of us seem to fall into this trap, whether by choice or by ignorance. Instead of learning to truly care about others, we are content with saving face or playing a role in our quest to find the life we've always wanted.
The second conclusion that came to mind is that we must continually refine our definition for relational success. Without knowing what we are aiming for, we may become easily distracted and lose sight of what really matters. When we focus on things like efficiency and productivity, we can begin to devalue relationship, leading us to lose sight of what will help us achieve the success we are looking for. Ford has a marketing slogan they use to sell vehicles: Built Ford Tough. What matters most to an organization will shape its' reputation. Those companies that are built on relationship are the companies, organizations, churches and communities that will find true success over the long term. This stage of re-definition is not one that should be taken lightly, but one that should be re-visited as often as possible in order to ensure that the mission, vision and purpose of the entity are at the root of all its' functions moving forward. What is built on relationship will remain secure. That which is not will crumble and fall.