Imagine this: you’ve stepped into a new job or assignment and one of the people that is critical to your success had a bad relationship with your predecessor and thinks your department isn’t worth talking to. What do you do?
Obviously, you need to build a relationship, but that the bad history may make that prospect feel impossible. So how do you approach it?
- Reach out to the person and say that you’re new in the role and you want their advice. It’s fair to say that you know that things didn’t go well in the past and that you want to learn. Suggest that you meet in their office if at all possible, This shows your humility on your part. Since you’re asking for their advice, like anyone asking for help you treat them like they are the master.
- Your meeting is about hearing their point of view. Even if you don’t agree with what they say, remember that you are there to listen, first and foremost. Anything you can learn about what went wrong in the past, whatthey need and want from you going forward, and understanding their world so that you might be able to position yourself to help in the future is great information. Also, if you can identify some low hanging fruit - something that you can easily do that would enhance the relationship, that’s a bonus. Saying what you need is really secondary in this first meeting because you’re there to get advice and build a relationship.
- Be sure to follow up with a timely thank you. If you can follow up with an action that will build the relationship based on what you learned in step 2, so much the better.
Now you can begin to work with this person, bearing in mind all that you learned in that meeting.
I have used this approach many times, and found it to be successful. This isn’t to say that you can just treat them like anyone else after that first meeting, but at least your foot is in the door.
QUESTION: What’s your advice for restarting a broken business relationship?======================================================================
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.