Is It Really About Relationships?

OpinionPosted | Category: BRM Philosophy, Relationshipism | Contributed

The world has the potential to be completely transformed by discovering what a relationship-centered organization (RCO) is and how much value it adds to workplaces and lives. Too many organizational leaders conform to old ideologies, not realizing the growth potential in transforming their mindset.

Over the past several years, people have led by their actions. The world is done “clocking in” to the old business model. They’re tired of having their lives run by unappreciative, discrediting, antagonistic bosses. Today, people are looking for a place to work that adds value to their lives, a relationship-centered organization that checks all of the right boxes. 

But how does an organization even start to embrace an RCO mindset?

What does an RCO even look like? 

In order to ascertain what a world chock full of RCOs looks like, we must consider the world and how it is today. As of late, we keep hearing about the Great Resignation. People are quitting their jobs because they want a better work-life balance. 

According to CNN Business, 4.4 million people quit their jobs in February 2022. The hardest hit industries were retail, manufacturing, and state and local government education jobs. In that same month, there were 11.3 million job openings, and interestingly enough, most were in the arts, entertainment and recreation, educational services, and federal government sectors.The numbers are startling; however, it gives credence to the question, would this be happening if organizations understood and fully adopted a relationship-centered mindset?

First, we need to grasp the concept of an RCO. Then we can see how an RCO will transform people’s lives. A relationship-centered organization is an organization that focuses on relationships as the source of limitless energy, driving value, and satisfying purpose. The leaders of RCOs recognize value in shared ownership, nurturing an infinite potential mindset, embracing an evolved culture, and cementing a set purpose. 

When employees are treated with dignity, respect, and empathy, they personally invest more of themselves into their organization. When people are prioritized over profit, the organization thrives. When relationships are established on mutual trust, respect, and integrity, it’s a win-win for everyone!

As a prime example, consider this personal story. I have accounts with several financial institutions where I do my banking. I have a couple of the big, huge, “you’re just a number, not a person” banks, and I have Patelco Credit Union. Do you see right away which institution I am loyal to? Right away, my loyalty sways to the organization that treats me with dignity and respect and honors my business.

Now, let me preface this story by saying that I don’t go into Patelco Credit Union very often. Maybe at my busiest banking times, I go in once a month. However, roughly around the third time I went into the credit union, I was taken aback by the manager and teller greeting me by my first name. Unexpectedly in the banking world, I matter!

After a handful of times going into the credit union and some personal stories back and forth, the next time I went in, they greeted me by name and then asked how my boys were doing. I was blown away! Something as simple as remembering my name and engaging in personal conversations created a relationship, so much so that when it came time to get a car loan, Patelco Credit Union was the first organization that popped into my head.

Likewise, four years ago, when two of our boys went away to college, the tellers and managers gladly listened to our stories and showed genuine interest. When we came in to do business, they asked about our boys—believe it or not—by their first names. OMG, we belonged! Because our relationship was reinforced and nurtured by the employees, when it came time for our kids to open accounts, guess where they went? Again, Patelco.

As you can imagine, with two kids in college, we weren’t rolling in the dough. However, when our account was hacked on a Friday evening before a holiday weekend, I was terrified of what could happen to us financially, but the manager came in on a Saturday morning and worked with me for hours to solve the problem. Who does that? I’ll tell you who! Martin, the Patelco manager, saw value in making me feel safe and investing in a relationship with me.

The actions of the Patelco employees cemented our relationship with them. They saw us as partners and not customers. It was the personal connection and relationships that kept us there. Thus, in 2021, when we decided to take advantage of the low mortgage rates and refinance our home loan, you don’t even have to guess where we went. That’s right, we went to Patelco Credit Union, a relationship-centered organization!

When employees are invested in an organization, it will radiate to their customers. When an organization incorporates a relationship-centered mindset, it builds trust, forges strong bonds, and unleashes exponential creative potential. Making this happen takes patience, a conscious effort, a complete buy-in from leaders, and trust in something greater than a single bottom line.

As a business relationship manager, you have the capability to partner with your organization and help transform it into a thriving RCO. It won’t happen overnight. It takes time to change old, worn-out thinking patterns. But, as a transformational partner, every small win you have will lead to bigger and more meaningful changes within your organization.

You may start by asking, “How do I see myself in the BRM role at my organization? What can I offer that adds value? Are there some identifiable components I can use within my organization to help develop it into an RCO?”

Can you imagine how different our lives would be if everyone walked through the world creating relationship-centered experiences?

Want more information on relationship-centered organizations? Check out BRM Institute.

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