Every time you come into contact with someone, you have an opportunity to create a quality connection. As your contact with that person occurs with more frequency you have an even larger opportunity to make something more of it.
Let me share a contrast in experiences to illustrate the point. Eating out is a favorite pastime for my husband and I. With that we tend to haunt the same restaurants. There are 2 restaurants in particular, literally next door to one another, which we frequent.
Restaurant Experience #1:
“Hi Shiloh and Richard it’s great to see you again—welcome back. I know how much you love our fish specials and our chef has done something amazing to the swordfish tonight. We also have brought in a new wine to pair with it if you’d like. Your favorite table outside is available. Would that suit you this evening?”
Restaurant Experience #2:
“Be with you in a moment. (The hostess doesn’t smile, even though there is recognition and leaves to the back, shortly returning). Follow me. Watch your step. Your server will be with you in a moment.”
Not only did restaurant #1 deepen our connection, they made us feel at home, of value and quietly up-sold in a helpful way that earned them more than an additional purchase of a bottle of wine—easy to see why too. Next time we stand in front of those two doors, you can easily guess which way we will lean. This is where connections can evolve to a higher level – where we dare call it “loyalty.”
Loyalty: unswayable faithfulness, allegiance, or commitment
Now there is power in that – value that can give and give and give through ongoing patronage, to recommending friends, to writing a great post on your Facebook page for all to see. You can’t pay for that kind of exposure, you have to earn it.
Creating connections begins with first impressions and extends to consistently meeting or exceeding expectations. Every connection, no matter how small or long-term, leaves some sort of impression—good or bad. One slip can break the fibers of a connection, but if it is reacted to quickly and correctly, it can be repaired. Expanding and deepening connections have also proven to bring more value to your own life, increasing performance and satisfaction levels.
Connections lead to community and a community’s support can empower you to achieve things that never seemed imaginable. The additional resources, backing, and general consensus on what you’re trying to achieve can open doors and move mountains. Communities provide a catalyst to change and can reinforce your ability to influence.
“We see how repeated interactions create new and valued resources (such as trust and power or influence), which shape patterns of future exchanges.” The Power of High Quality Connections, by Jane Dutton and Jane Heaphy
Think of client and employee loyalties and how far they can take you when they exist. Then take a different look at the degree in which they can harm you if you as a manager, do not take them as a pivotal aspect to cultivate.