Simple Things Make for Great Relationships

Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to success that I describe in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things: 1) get to know yourself; 2) build long term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in your life; and 3) learn how to resolve conflict in a positive manner.

I am writing a follow up book to Straight Talk for Success, tentatively titled The Official Guide to Success. I have been interviewing Official Guides on  I am the Self Official Guide to Executive Coaching.  Earlier this week, I interview Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, or Charley and Liz as they preferred to be called.  They are the Official Guide for Love.  They know quite a bit about relationships.

Charley and Liz and I talked out the importance of doing simple things to build and nurture relationships.  When I asked for an example of simple things, they said “Just saying ‘thank you’ when someone does something for you is a simple thing.”

Two days ago, I experienced a firsthand example of what Charley and Liz were talking about when it comes to simple things.  I found the following email in my in box…

Subject: I would like to thank you for your blog

Good Evening Bud,

I would like to take a few minutes to thank you for your blog on common sense success.  I stumbled across it while doing some reading on Lean Manufacturing concepts.  Your reference to the Pareto Principle caught a Google hit.  Since I have read your blog, I have become very interested in the types of subject matter that you offer.  I promised myself that I would write to you, so I sit here on this beautiful evening fulfilling my promise to myself.

I would like to introduce myself to you, because you seem to be someone that can help me become a better person.

My name is Jeff Graves, and I live in Muskegon, Michigan.  I am a 37 year-old journeyman patternmaker / manufacturing engineer.  I am proud of my manufacturing engineer title, because I started college at the age of twenty-five, and attended school for nine years part-time to obtain my degree.  I achieved this while being married, having kids, and working full-time. 

The thing that surprised me the most about your blog is that you talk about the same topics all week long on each topic’s given day.  I love that!  For me, that is total reinforcement of some very basic principles that I can work on perfecting.  To my way of thinking, I view your blog not as “self-help”, but “polish what you have” material.

My favorite topic that you write about is personal branding.  I love this topic because it is something that I have done for awhile, by living and adhering to some values that I hold dear to myself. 

I would love to tell you about my personal brand.  Since reading your blog I am branding myself as “The Dependable Guy”.  My brand is built on four main principles. 

Those principles are:
• Integrity- I have held this near and dear to my heart since my military days.  For me, integrity simply states, “Do what you say you are going to do”.  To read that you hold this value equally as important as I do tells me that I am on the right track.

• Accountability- For me, accountability is equally important.  Accountability means that when I am not able to meet a commitment that I have the ability to say, “I have made a mistake, and I need to make you aware of it”.  To my way of thinking you can’t have one without the other.

• Attention to Detail- Quite simply put, I want my I’s dotted and my T’s crossed.  As an engineer, I have seen too many people lose the respect of others because they forgot to see a small detail that was missed.  My perfect example;  Our continuous improvement manager came out screaming one day about our machining efficiency going way down one week.  He DEMANDED answers and was going to hold people accountable.  As I sat there sweating bullets, a calm smile came over my face.  I reported back to him that our machining efficiency had suffered because the week in question was Fourth of July weekend, and the shop was closed on Friday, thus describing why our available run-time was so low.  My goal to myself is never to be that guy…

• Action Oriented- This value is my Nike “Just Do It” mentality.  I have personally sat in endless meetings that have gone nowhere, and the end of the meeting people say things like, “Good Job”!  My feeling is, “good job for what?”  We haven’t DONE anything.  Sometimes the act of doing something for someone can help build a lasting relationship, especially when you are in a position higher than that person.  They count on me to address their problems.  So I do!

So Bud, what do you think about my personal brand?  Did you notice that I have not mentioned “Hard-Worker”?  I feel that “Hard-Worker” has been abused and tainted by the American work-force.  My personal brand, “The Dependable Guy”, encompasses what hard work really means.

You have mentioned a book that I have.  That book is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.  I have been putting off reading it until this winter.  Your approval of this book makes me think that I should pick it up and start reading it sooner.

The other book that I am involved in is Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover”.  His book is great, because it isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but a live within your boundaries ideal.

Once again Bud, I want to thank you for your time spent blogging on some great common sense principles.  I truly value what you have to offer.  I am sorry if I have rambled for too long.  Please keep up the good work.

Good luck with your future endeavors!

Jeff Graves

Jeff’s email was a simple thing that really touched me.  I am committed to this blog.  I have written over 500 posts.  I post every day, five days a week.   Jeff’s e mail gives me the motivation to write 500 more posts.  It was a simple thing for Jeff to send me an e mail thanking me for writing my blog, but it really touched me to read such heartfelt appreciation for what I do.  Jeff could have rambled on for several thousand more words and I would have read all of them with delight.

Thanks Jeff.  I really appreciate your e mail.  And, I appreciate all of the comments that other readers have made on my blog posts.  I truly do value and treasure them.

The common sense point for today is simple.  The simple things, small acts of kindness make a big difference in relationships.  If you want to build strong, lasting relationships with the important people in your life, do the simple things – thank people when they’ve helped you; publicly recognize others for the good work they do, let people know in advance if you’re going to miss a deadline.  If you do this, others will come to recognize you as someone who is worthy of their friendship and trust.  And friendship and trust are great foundations for relationships.

That’s my take on relationships, and the simple things that make them work.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.  I truly do appreciate and value them.  Thanks for reading – and writing.


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