Only a fundamental change in your behavior will create a lasting impact on your relationship development success. To adopt even some of these ideas to the extent that you are comfortable will help you make many of these best practices yours.

1. Make a real commitment to start pervasively integrating relationships in your everyday interactions. Relationship development is not a spectator sport. Attend a function from the sideline and you’ll grossly miss the opportunity to meet those critical individuals who can dramatically improve your situation. Start by inviting a colleague to an industry function where you already feel comfortable with your surroundings.

2. Set quantifiable goals. Remember: Most New Year’s resolutions fail because they don’t include a quantifiable way to measure one’s progress. Build a 30-60-90-day plan with quantifiable goals, objectives, and action items. Prioritize them into three categories: Serious (if you don’t do it now, it will hurt you), Urgent (if you don’t get to it, it will become serious and hurt you) and Growth (fire prevention and opportunities for scale).

3. There is no magic bullet when it comes to building and nurturing lasting relationships. And when you make mistakes or unintentionally ruin a relationship, there is no pause or restart button. Relationship building is not speed dating; it takes time, effort, and investments. Many are either unwilling or unable to take this journey. If you are unwilling, neither I nor anyone else can help you. If you are unable, we can address that with coaching, training, mentoring, and supporting technology. You simply have to decide if this aspect of your personal and professional development is important enough to make the necessary investments to do it right and do it well.

4. There are absolute and very real tradeoffs in the process. I have two young children and it is always a heartbreaking choice to a) attend another networking function or b) go home to my beautiful wife and kids whom I miss throughout the day, and spend time that I won’t get back. There is no easy answer and as hard as many try, real balance is very difficult to obtain. The opportunity cost forces me to do my homework before attending any event. Ideally, I’ll have a good idea of the speaker’s bio, the nature of their content, and the interests of the audience. If one of these three is not aligned with my personal or professional goals, I don’t go. I have elevated my efforts from simply activity-based networking to value-based relationship development in the organizations I belong to, events I attend, and travel commitments I make.

Understanding and beginning to exchange Relationship Currency is the critical first step in your Relationship Economics transformation process. The more you use these techniques, the more confident your mindset, the sharper your toolset, and the clearer and crisper your individual road map will become. Make the commitment to invest the time, effort, and resources in the next 30-60-90 days to make a real change in how you build, nurture, and leverage key relationships toward your personal and professional success.

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