“When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”
―Stephen R. Covey
If you’re interested in developing your business easier and faster than ever, look at the relationships you have with everyone involved. If they’re open, cheerful, and positive you’re doing a good job and most likely your business is thriving. If that isn’t the case read on.
This is a quote and concept I’ve used many times when teaching people the concept of delivering value before asking for anything in return. I also use this in my life, including to measure how well I’m doing in my relationships with others.
I first encountered this concept in the mid-nineties. I was a few years behind in getting around to reading Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s a great book, if you haven’t read it, or if it’s been a few years, it’s worth reading again.
In the book, Covey uses the concept of an Emotional Bank Account that we have in all our interactions with people. When we do something nice, we put deposits into our account, and when we ask others to do something for us, we withdraw money from our account.
As long as we maintain a high enough balance, we can make withdrawals with no repercussions. It’s when we let the balance fall too low that we start to have conflicts and issues.
I look at all my interactions with people through this lens: my family, friends, team members/staff, and the audience of people interested in what I’m selling, including my inactive clients.
Let me share some examples from my life to illustrate this.
I’ll start with my staff. When the balance in my account is high enough, and I need them to do extra work, put in extra time, or make extra effort, there’s no problem. They dive in to help get things done, and I don’t have to use as much of my energy to make a particular project happen. The project just gets done, and we are successful, quickly and easily.
With my friends, it comes down to how willing are they to help when I need help. I don’t ask for help often, but you can measure the strength of your relationships by how willing friends are to help you when you ask or to offer to help even before you ask.
When my account balance with my wife is high, I will be excused from helping clean up the dishes so I can finish a project I’m working on, and she might even bring me a cup of coffee to keep me going. When I haven’t been tending to the balance and it drops lower, I will get the look that says I never help out around the house. It’s the look your spouse gives you when she or he is feeling the weight of the world, and you aren’t helping out. This is a sure sign that your account balance is getting low.
What’s the sign with kids? When your account balance is high, they are willing to help out around the house or spend time with you. When your balance is low, they move away faster and are reluctant to help.
How about your audience of past customers/clients or patients, or the people who haven’t done business with you yet? How is your account balance with them? Do your past clients talk about the great service they got from you and promote you enthusiastically, or do they not mention your business or talk about you only reluctantly? It’s your choice. You directly affect how others think of you and your products and services.
Looking at relationships in this way shines new light on why people are willing to listen to you, follow you, help you succeed, and purchases goods or services from you. As long as you’re putting regular deposits into your Emotional Bank Accounts, you will move through life getting the help you want and the support you need. As soon as your neglect these deposits, you’ll find that your life doesn’t flow as smoothly.
One thing to keep in mind is that many of us like to keep saving our money or relational equity and feel bad about making a withdrawal. Don’t feel bad about making withdrawals: we need to maintain a positive balance, but that balance is there to use.
After all, your bank doesn’t mind you coming in and taking money from your account, no matter how much you want, as long as you’ve put it in there first. It’s your money to spend as you choose.
Your relationship accounts are similar. You’ve helped people, spent time with them, had fun, and lived, so the equity is there. Don’t feel bad about making withdrawals; after all, people want to help you succeed.
Go ahead, take a look at how the people you are interacting with are treating you. Are they willing to help you or do they make constant demands on you and your time? If they are making demands, it’s time to get to work and put some deposits into your Emotional Bank Account.
I’ll finish this article with one more quote.
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
Have a great week.