I’ve had more than several conversations with colleagues, friends, mentees, and particularly clients recently on their “efforts to progress ratio” this year and how they plan to do things differently in 2014. I’m amazed at the sheer (there is a direct correlation between the size or the bureaucracy of the organization and) amount of busywork that goes on. We make lists, we attend calls and meeting, we read, we write, we apply, we do. Much of it because we feel that we must. Much of it because we don’t know better. Some of it because we have to. But most of it because that’s what everyone else does or we think we should be doing.

But have you ever really sat and asked the tough question of: do all that I’m doing right now, really matter in improving the lives or general conditions of the relationships that are most important to me? Instead of yet another email, can I simply pick up the phone and call that person? Instead of another elaborate proposal, how about a cup of coffee to discuss “here is what I’m thinking in a draft path we could move forward with, what do you think?” Instead of a call to discuss the meeting that’s coming up in advance of the meet to discuss the meeting we need to meet about, can we dispense with any (or all of it) and get to the desired outcome?

You see, that’s the real – if not the ONLY focal point that really, truly, and utterly matters! And most of us are so inundated with input – what we do and how we do it, that we often lose sight of the outcome. How is that person better off because they’re in a relationship (employee, customer, partner, investor, media contact, etc.) with you? I’m also finding that lower level people are enamored with input vs. how can we work together to dramatically improve the outcome!

In my experience, we prioritize our most valuable relationships based on trust, reliability, and results:

  • Trust because we feel that they’re both credible and can empathize with where we’re coming from;
  • Reliable because we can count on them for their particular relationship asset be it time, effort, knowledge or influential relationships; and
  • Results because we feel dramatically better off being with and around them, learning from them, growing through them.

Do yourself a favor as we move toward wrapping up 2013 and look forward to 2014. Make a real commitment to do less busywork and create more impactful outcomes. You simply can’t do that for everyone you meet, so meet and get distracted by fewer transactions, so you can make time for deeper, more meaningful relationships. Ask every day, did I help my relationships feel the trust, reliability and results between us. If not, change, modify, or enhance your behavior to get you there.

Make it a great week.

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