What happened to the art of relationship building? Heck, where the hell went civility? Have we just decided to replace “doing the right thing” with bulk emails, automated tweets, and lead scoring tools? Have we decided that good, old-fashioned relationships aren’t a good investment any longer?
Let’s make this discussion a little more pragmatic. Let’s talk about simple business etiquette.
Can I get a simple reply to my email?
Maybe in your head you have this grandiose theory about how important you are and how valuable your schedule really is. But that’s a fantasy world.
We get it.
You’re don’t have time for us… (Sorry. That was a mistake.)
You do have time for us when you need something. When you need something done. Something solved. Something fixed.
When you need me to be a bad-ass and drop-kick your problem with my talents.
Oh then, you’re quick to open your inbox and pretend like we are fast friends. Like we have a relationship.
But we aren’t and we don’t.
So let’s stop pretending like I’m stupid and that you care.
That’s the essence of the matter. You were hoping that no one would have the guts to call you out on your selfish bullshit. That you could make this all about you and use me to get what you want.
And that could work as long as you never need me to ever really care about making you successful. Because that’s not going to happen. Going through the motions is easy. Especially if you are paying me lots and lots of money.
But why be an idiot? Why use and abuse people when you could have us eating out of your hand?
Why not just change. It’s simple actually.
Take time to respond.
Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you are busy.
(And by the way, you aren’t any busier than anyone else. We all make the same choice each day where to spend our time.)
Make the choice to answer your emails. Each one. Your spam filter is evolved enough to keep most of the riff-raff out of the mix. What you’re (mostly) looking at is just a series of potential relationships.
That’s all. Relationships.
And relationships matter.
Especially when you don’t have one.
You don’t need to be best friends with anyone. You can say “no” and “not now”. Just like you do in “real life”. None of that changes.
But what does need to be changed is your attitude.
Arrogance. Avoidance. They aren’t endearing qualities.
How can you lead when you’re pathetically passive aggressive? How can you hope to inspire teamsmanship when you won’t invest in simple words to light that fire?
Look. This discussion is bigger than email. It’s much bigger than that. (And you know it.)
But you have to start somewhere.
That somewhere is your inbox.
So get your head out of your ass and start being the type of person who values other people. Invest in the quick touches that let people around you know you care.
It might not matter today. Or tomorrow. Or for a while, for that matter.
But the day will come all too soon when your shabby attempts at relationship-building will cripple your ability to get things done.
And you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.