At this time of year, many people resolve to live healthier lives. Whether it’s exercising more frequently or eating less of certain foods, getting healthy is historically the number one resolution Americans make every year. You might be among them. I am of the mind that this commitment to better health is also applicable to your association’s relationships with members, volunteers and other stakeholders. How healthy are those relationships?
In a recent article for Success.com, Jim Rohn discussed 8 Traits of Healthy Relationships. According to Rohn, “[these] are [the] basics that govern most human relationships.” I found four of them particularly relevant for associations.
- Honest communication. “Sometimes we are the one speaking and other times we are listening. Either way, the central tenet is communication for the sake of building the relationship and making it stronger,” Rohn wrote. It’s important to understand that communication is a two-way activity. To have healthy relationships with members and customers, you have to listen to their ideas as well as offer your own for their consideration.
- Friendliness. Rohn observed, “The fact is that the friendlier you are, the more you are going to have people who want to pursue longer-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with you. So cheer up, put on a smile, have kind words to say to others, treat people with a great deal of friendliness and you will see your relationships improve.” This might seem self-evident, but attitudes are contagious. Is your association’s attitude worth catching? When people call your offices, would they describe the voice on the other end as friendly?
- Patience. According to Rohn, “those who give up on relationships too early, or because the other person isn’t perfect, often forget that their next friend, their next spouse or business partner will not be perfect either. So we would do well to cultivate this skill and learn to have more patience.” Be patient with your volunteers and board members. They may not always meet every one of your expectations, but they deserve your patience as they put forth their best effort to accomplish the tasks you’ve set before them.
- A common purpose. “One of the basics of healthy relationships is to have a common purpose, and oftentimes this is a component that is initially overlooked, but for a long-term, long-lasting relationship it is vital. Think about how many friends you have met through the years while working on a common purpose,” Rohn noted. Your members have joined your association, in large part, because they want to work with others towards achieving common goals. Don’t underestimate the value and importance of their desire for affinity.
Here’s to maintaining the healthiest of your relationships this year and to establishing some new ones!