How do you balance investing in your most valuable relationships, yet diversifying that portfolio and ensuring your influence extends beyond your comfort zone?

Here are three best practices to ensure your ‘influence’ footprint is well-grounded and highly effective:

Set intentionally net-new relationship goals and objectives for yourself.

Attend new events, work with different groups and organizations, and read about and explore previously uncharted territories. In short, get out of your comfort zone and try new experiences where you’ll have a chance to meet like-minded quality people.

Become more selfish—with your time, talent, and investment efforts.

I’m blessed that through my speaking and consulting work, I get a chance to meet a lot of great people. But the exact reason why they appreciate the quality of my work is the same reason I can’t afford to have coffee or lunch with all of them. Diversity in your portfolio of relationships requires constant trade-offs between relationship investment choices. Make those investment choices wisely.

Build new personal brand attributes attractive to different relationships.

I’m launching a thought leadership series with some of the brightest minds in global academia. Their research, unwavering commitment to education, and lifelong learning are of great value to my clients. Joint position papers, webinars, and speaking engagements with this group will push me to think differently about strategic relationships.

Listen, diversification is tough. It’s as much letting go of some things as it is learning and engaging new opportunities. The goals are to meet, grow, learn, and prosper. The more diverse your portfolio of relationships, the broader your influence footprint!

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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