How do you truly get to know people? Well, give them a chance to show their true colors. We really do not know people until we interact with them and that takes time. In the business world, you will meet people who are great and some that are not.
At the beginning, many of your initial meetings will look the same. People will all talk a good talk. Usually, they can get through the first or second meeting while appearing to be highly professional. But something interesting starts to happen over time. People will start to reveal who they really are. How do you protect yourself? How do you make sure you are dealing with the right people and not with those who are trying to do things that they are incapable of doing?
#1. Start small. Meet people casually so that you can figure out who they are. Even things as small as meeting for a cup of coffee will tell you whether they can manage their schedule, communicate and arrive on time, and follow through. Do they follow through on commitments, perhaps to introduce you to people, or do they promise things they never deliver? These are early warning signs that these may not be the right person to partner with.
#2. Give them some leeway. Let them have some freedom to do things on their own. Ask them to help you out with something small. See if they actually follow through or if they drop the ball.
#3. Step up the pace, slowly. As you get to know them more, take more chances. This will help you understand them more and help you manage your risks.
#4. Evaluate. What are you seeing? Are they doing things well or are they struggling? Are they actually following through? Are they delivering? If you have somebody who is truly delivering, you are moving to the next level.
#5. Deepen the relationship. If you see somebody who has done well in these first four steps, it is a good time to have a deeper discussion. See how you can broaden the relationship and what more you can do together.
Start small, build up slowly. But the key is to give the person some leeway. You cannot control your risks all the time. You are going to have to take small risks and give some initiative to the other person. Let them do something that is low risk to you and see what they do. See if they follow through and deliver. Because you need to be careful when forming partnerships and alliances, if you let people show their true colors, you will learn who they really are.
What has been your experience? Have you had people disappoint you by acting in ways you did not expect? Have you found out things about people later that you did not initially know? Join us in the comments below and let us know what your thoughts are.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer ratnesh bhatt.
About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can email R. Shawn McBride or (214) 418-0258.