Made-to-Last Relationships


What is the common denominator between Bill Clinton, Tony Soprano and Kermit the Frog?

They all excelled at creating strong relationships with key stakeholders. Clinton got people to donate in excess of 70 billion(!) dollars to his do-good Clinton Global Initiative. Soprano had people sacrificing their life for him. And the oh-so-green Kermit? he maintained his loyal following even after his voice changed due to the death of his creator, Jim Henson.

Your professional success rises or falls based on your ability to create made-to-last relationships with your key stakeholders (customers, funders, regulators, Boards, bosses, colleagues…).

Here are four common-sense things you might want to practice:

1.  Put yourself in their shoes. Before responding or taking action on any mater related to a stakeholder, ask yourself how you would perceive the issue if you were in their shoes. Really try and dive into their perspective, needs, motivations and interests. This is especially crucial if you’re dealing with a ‘sticky situation’ that could get out of hand. With this insight in hand, any action you take is likely to lead to a win-win.

2.  Become more Teflon-like. If the other party said or did something that is upsetting to you, don’t take it to heart. Rather than letting things ‘get to you’ as if you were covered with Velcro, let them slide off you, as if you were covered with Teflon. Be more light-hearted and forgiving. Not only will the relationship be a better one, your blood pressure will thank you too.

3.  Practice humility.  The truth is that you have lots to learn from the people with whom you interact.  Yes, you bring to the table your unique strengths and insights and experience, but (surprise!), the other person has equally valuable strengths, experiences and insights. If you remain open to hearing about those and learning through every interaction, the other person will invariably sense your attitude and will respond accordingly. And as your experience had probably already taught you, the relationship will benefit profoundly from this.

4.  Work on your RHB designation. Visit the following link to learn more about this newly-created, must-have professional designation that will help you solidify those made-to-last stakeholder relationship –


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