Relationships are so central to business that we take them for granted. We create our organizational charts, enshrine our customer service policies in manuals, and post inspirational teamwork posters in our workplaces. Are we really getting it though? The Relationship Engine: Connecting with the People Who Power Your Business helps leaders understand the impact of not taking the “human” part of the business equation into account. It offers a new model for those leaders who are ready to proactively improve their relationship “superpowers” so they can improve every aspect of their business.
What is The Relationship Engine About?
The Relationship Engine provides one simple example to show the discrepancy between customer service and customer-focused service. That example is calling customer support for your cable or computer. The author describes a scenario in which customers is seeking support has to enter information using an automated system and then verify that same information again. He then has to get on the floor to look in a hard-to-reach place for small numbers on the modem that was given to him by the very same company that he called in the first place.
Do you see the problem here? All of this effort is placed on the “transaction” part of customer service, not the human part of customer service.
The Relationship Engine points the blame at the way we treat human relationships in the workplace. In short, we take them for granted. We either believe that being a “people person” is a fixed trait employees either have or they don’t or that a simple customer service manual will do the trick. Because of this, we fail to develop our skills at relating to other human beings. This a dangerous cycle to be a part of especially for business leaders who literally set the tone for relationships at work in both deed and action.
Fixing this lack of real knowledge about how to deal with other human beings in the workplace requires embodying the principles in the book. The Relationship Engine uses a 5-sided model to help leaders improve the workplace culture. The author then spends the rest of the book exploring the implications of these principles on your business. Even though the principles aren’t revolutionary, they offer the potential for a powerful new way to work. That principle begins when the entire business, starting with the leaders, understands the potential revolutionary concept of focusing on relationships and not just the transaction.
Author Ed Wallace is a consultant, speaker, and President of the Relational Capital Group with expertise in utilizing human-powered relationships in the workplace.
What Was Best About The Relationship Engine?
The Relationship Engine introduces the concept of relational agility, a concept that combines relationship building with the business need for agile leadership. In books on innovation, relationship skills are often given superficial lip service. This book argues that the internal and external relationships of a business affect the whole process of innovation. To put it more simply, innovation doesn’t happen unless the right relationships are in place. That is a radically new perspective that puts “soft skills” on a higher footing than they have ever been before in the conversation about how a business should innovate.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
One area that could receive a little more attention in The Relationship Engine is the environment surrounding a leader. A leader could put all of the principles of the book into practice but the effect could be stifled in a work environment that doesn’t want to change. More information about how leaders can work with colleagues, subordinates and superiors to implement the book’s principles on a large scale might be helpful.
Why Read The Relationship Engine?
For those leaders who want to improve their relational skills, The Relationship Engine provides an innovative and proactive form of leadership capable of dealing with the volatile business world of the future. The book’s principles provide a framework or perspective that can be used to assess and improve leadership with more precision. Instead of assuming that your leaders are good at relationships, this book helps you assess how good they are and where they need to improve so they can contribute to growing the organization in the future.