September 3, 2015
WHY THE ‘PEOPLE BUSINESS’ IS ALL ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP
“The People Business”, commonly referred to as: Human Services, Social Services, Casework, Bleeding Hearts, The Softy’s, Social Work (and many more) is a profession which promotes service delivery by addressing not only the quality of direct services to people, but also by seeking to improve accountability, coordination, accessibility and community among professionals and agencies.
You need to build relationships with people one-on-one if you want them to become involved. Some people become involved because they truly believe in the cause or have experienced similar situations or challenges. However, many people become involved just because they have a relationship with another person who is already participating. Every relationship is different, but they all matter.
Why is It Important?
Networking – the value of forming and maintain a strong circle of contacts. There is no better time than now to strengthen or build your network. A solid network will serve you well for years to come and will be an additional tool in your toolbox. It’s always better to build relationships before you need them or before a conflict arises. Networking includes both internal and external. Internally, be visible – don’t hide in your office or behind others who lead. Make yourself known and discover your passion to make a true difference. I believe that networking is more than just meeting someone to say that you have met them. It is more a self-growth introduction that enables you to gain an understanding of the industry, the community impact and of the person that you are meeting with.
In order for a particular neighborhood or area to succeed, community must exist. In order for a community to be a community, relationships must exist. Effective community relationships are constructed simply on open dialogue and communication. Putting in time and effort to improve the well-being of yourself and others. It is key to share and build a common vision and goals in order to continue to push forward and implement change.
Networking, community relationships and communication are really simple, but tend to fall apart if not truly valued. Follow these 7 Simple Techniques to Keep the Relationship Alive and Healthy:
1.Take the Time to Understand and Engage Effectively. There is a difference in hearing people and truly listening to people. There is also a difference in recognizing things that should happen and understanding what really needs to happen in order to bring change and improvement. Without a strong relationship, there is no real change. Even if you are in another person’s thoughts, it is how your relationship affects them, not YOU in general. When organizations and community members are engaged, the resources available expand and the ideas enhance. Effective relationships between organizations and communities’ helps to foster stronger connections and more overall engagement, which in turn allows for more success, potentially for everyone – which is always a win, win! Do it not because it will make you look good, but because it is the right thing to do.
2. Keep the People and Community the Focus. Be optimistic instead of pessimistic. Open your mind a little more before opening your mouth.If you criticize, be sure to be heard, however make room for the facts and present even better solutions — better for all and not just at an individual level. Your plan should be concise, have true actions (what you think really needs to happen) and have several options. The tendency of both organizations and communities to regard each other with a great deal of distrust is prevalent as each has developed a sharp eye for the weaknesses of the other. Think about it… if the relationships between communities and organizations is damaged at a time when we need positive relationships more than ever, how did these relationships fall apart and what can we do to repair them? What are we doing well and what can be improved? Have these conversations as these are key in the “People Business.” People want to be heard and will go through drastic measures to ensure that happens. So, focus on the people and that sense of community will grow naturally overtime.
3. Put in the Time and Effort to Be Real….Genuine…. Honest. A network is nothing more than relationships with a variety of people. Treat people like people, and the rest will take care of itself. Trust builds the foundation for a real honest relationship and truthfully, we aren’t always able to see ourselves, nor all of the “stuff” going on, at or around us. The relationships you work to keep can give you much needed input that will help you navigate through the obstacles and adventures you face along the way. I’m willing to bet that nearly all people favor a real honest relationship over a forced or phony one. Demonstrate trust, build rapport and learn to analyze a bit. By focusing on empathy, you can usually get to the core of the issue faster.
4. Be Consistent & Persistent. People are often shy and suspicious. It takes a while to win trust over. You can almost always form a relationship if you stick with it and show people you truly care about them. You can take breaks, but try not to give up on the issue or the relationship altogether. When things are the toughest, there are important lessons to be learned.
5. Enhance Yourself (or team) & Continue to Support Others. You can only accomplish things with and through others. That simply means that the relationships you develop, will be one of the things that will define how successful you are. Some relationships you develop may be with people who are operating at a higher level and have more experience, but these individuals are great to learn from and can often times support you in times of need or in times of celebration. All of us know that the only thing certain about the future is that it will not be the same as the present. Therefore, we should be ready to be open to new circumstances, to a constantly changing world and we should not be afraid to try new things, explore new ideas and meet new people. “There is an innate longing for greatness within all of us. That longing can never be fulfilled without a willingness to change, improve and try something new” (Wein, 2015). Brush-up on your skills and broaden your knowledge through networking. It is all about relationships. Build them and keep them strong. Working together is much easier than going it alone.
6. Be Organized & Structured. Lack of formal structure undermines mutual accountability and limits the potential for significant cooperation. Without “rules” or guidelines, relationships often take the form of loose networks rather than functional collaborations. Turf battles, lack of trust, burnout and competition for funding make organizations unwilling to fully commit to potentially productive partnerships unless mutual accountability is assured through some type of obvious structure.
7.Be Willing to Showcase Your Success No Matter Who is Watching. The story of a community who is struggling to the meet the needs of its growing population is not a new one.Building relationships and working together is the true solution for this problem. When you work to rebuild old, maintain current and seek new relationships, people are the focus and you contribute directly to the strengthening and development of the community. Furthermore, you begin laying a firm foundation for both relationship renewal and community regeneration. You must work together to discover new ways to move forward and networking is key to your progression. The ReBuild Program has found most of its success by establishing and relying heavily on its relationships both within the community and through its participants. Without the community relationships, there is no program; without a program, there is little success; without success, there is no story; without a story, there is no community; and without a community, there are people struggling to make ends meet. Stories are not just stories, they are people’s lives – their obstacles, their achievements, their failures and their lessons learned. Tell the story not because it sounds good, but because it’s the right thing to do and it is the reality for people every day.
What RHA is doing to Make a Difference in the Lives of Their Clients:
RHA is in the People Business. We are focused on enriching the lives for our clients and our community together. It is our mission to “partner with the community and responsible residents to transform houses into homes while guiding families to self-sufficiency.” It is the people that form the relationships. It is also the people who motivate us to reach our goals. As a community organization, we care deeply about people and caring is simply part of our work. It is our caring for others that motivates us to work as hard as we do. It is often the health and happiness of our families, children, neighbors, coworkers and communities that we hold fixed in our minds as we push ourselves to overcome obstacles and take on new challenges that can feel overwhelming or uncomfortable. We are continuously enhancing our programs, implementing new ideas and looking for ways to build on our relationships between the people, the organizations and the community as a whole because that’s what needs to happen. We take pride in our tenacity to continue to be a leader in this community
Chrzanowski, D., Rans, S., Thompson, R. (2015, August 28). Building mutually-beneficial relationships between schools and communities: the role of a connector. Retrieved from http://www.abcdinstitute.org/docs/Building%20Mutually%20Beneficial%20School-Community%20Relationships.pdf
Bring Me Solutions, Not Problems (I know you think you know this, but…). (2015, August 30). Retrieved from http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/08/14/bring-people-solutions-not-problems/
Tannahill-Moran. D. Why Relationships and Your Network Are Important to Your Career. Retrieved August 28, 2015, from http://careerrocketeer.com/2012/11/why-relationships-and-your-network-are-important-to-your-career.html
Wein, R.B. (2015, August 30). Never be afraid to try something new. Retrieved from http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/never-be-afraid-to-try-something-new/