Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are two of the richest people alive, with a combined net worth of more than $170 billion. Safe it to say, that these business tycoons know a thing or two about success. In fact, in a recent briefing, Buffet and Gates agreed that the measure of success can be directly traced to “the strength of one’s personal relationships.” 

But how do we cultivate meaningful personal relationships to propel professional success, strengthen partnerships, and expand clientele? 

Tend to Relationships More Closely Than Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): 

As business leaders seek to expand their profit margins, often the focus is on revenues, key performance indicators (KPIs), or objectives and key results (OKRs). However, in order to improve these metrics holistically, fostering relationships with colleagues, clients and key partnerships is of paramount importance.  Thus, in order to ensure increased profit as well as a promise for its continuance, collaborative and cooperative lines of communication must be established and tended to more closely than any other metric.  

Engage in Active Listening

Attending to the perspectives of others with the intention of understanding takes practice. Often, we are conditioned to listen for the sole purpose of responding, rather than as part of a process of interpreting the meaning being relayed. To accelerate the building of rapport, active listening (or listening with intention) is imperative. Engaging in active listening requires action. Be sure to focus completely on the speaker by actively maintaining eye contact. Mindfully work to comprehend the information being conveyed, and respond thoughtfully with short verbal affirmations or by recalling the previously shared information. 

Offer Recognition Consistently

Relationships do not exist in a vacuum; they take work. One aspect that is often overlooked in building professional relationships is the routine practice of expressing gratitude and making others feel valued. One way to accomplish this is through the offering of recognition consistently. Take time to get to know your team. Acknowledge when they go the extra mile (or even when it was just a hard week). Further, consistently show appreciation to cultivate a collaborative climate.