360 degrees‘‘People gravitate toward those who create influence—people who are most self-aware. This includes asking tough questions such as ‘What am I good at, not good at, passionate about doing? What am I really about? What do I believe strongly in?’ People who are self-aware are at the highest levels of accomplishment,’’ commented Dan Brown, a friend and former SunTrust executive.

Instead of performance reviews—a bunch of paperwork—I like strategic relationship 360-degree assessments using the following questions:

  • What do people around you think of your ability to engage and influence others?
  • What do people above you think of the manner in which you identify and prioritize relationships to get things done, both within and external to the organization?
  • What do you believe is your perceived value addition when you engage others on your team?

Performance reviews make most of us think about how to fix, repair, or commit to remedial work. Strategic relationship 360-degree assessments can help you focus on what you’re already very good at and how to capitalize on that strength. As my mentor Alan Weiss often reminds me, ‘‘We all grow by building on strengths, not by trying to metamorphose every weakness into idealized perfection. We’re all imperfect. Success trumps perfection.’’

Bob Danzig, former head of the Hearst Newspaper Group and vice president of the Hearst Corporation, described the cream of the crop in every organization as destiny shapers and future builders. Only through strategic relationships and a systematic plan to identify and truly seek out the DNA of the future shapers of your team and organization will your organization succeed.

To learn more, read the revised and updated Relationship Economics paperback edition with 40 percent new content, including an all-new chapter 10 on social media and business relationships (Wiley, Feb. 2011).

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