Good business leaders are like wine—we get better with age.Â We are relentless in pursuing our goals, and we build our personal brands strong enough to weather any storm.
When the Great Recession hit in 2007, many Americans found themselves either unemployed or underemployed, as companies of all sizes navigated a murky economic environment.Â Many who lost their jobs were seasoned workers and small business owners, whose experience and education hadn’t protected them from the devastation ahead. The game had changed, and so had the tools necessary to navigate this scary new world.
Those tools are the three R’s of business— the rep, the rap, and the relationship. They help business leaders thrive in any economy.
Do people know you as someone who keeps their word? Is there a consensus that you should be tapped as a resource? Are you the one your colleagues call in a crisis? Take time to build trust with colleagues and partners by always doing good work, meeting deadlines, and being kind to others.
Right now, you could have the greatest idea for the next big thing to hit your industry, but can you clearly communicate that idea to others? Being able to articulate your ideas is critical, if others are to latch onto and support them. Keep in mind that great communication isn’t just about what you say, but also about what your audience hears. Tailoring your communication style to your audience will help your message, plan, or idea be better understood and championed by others.
What people are on your contact list, and how many of them are willing to go to bat for you? Human beings are social creatures, and we go the extra mile for those we know, like, and respect. Nurture your business relationships like you would your personal ones. Invest time and effort into them. Support allies in their endeavors and always add more value than you take. When the time comes where you need a lead on a potential new client, an interview with a new employer, or some other business need, the folks that you have strong relationships with will be there to lend you a hand.
The three R’s of business take time to build, and experienced business leaders are often the most likely to establish this trifecta. But, if you’re new to the game or reinvigorating your strategy, then now is the time to work on building these assets—you’ll need them sooner than you think.
Chris Gardner is the @CEOofHappyNess and the author of The Pursuit of Happyness. Follow his journey with AT&T to find entrepreneurs across the country who know what #AgilityIs and tune in on August 5 to see who will win $50,000 on their way to reboot the American Dream on https://BizCircle.att.com/agility-contest/