Chapter 6. Building Effective Relationships: The Art of Finding and Developing Your Allies

The stranger within my gate,

He may be true and kind,

But he does not talk my talk—

I cannot feel his mind.

I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,

But not the soul behind.

The men of my own stock,

They may do ill or well,

But they tell the lies I am wonted to,

They are used to the lies I tell;

And we do not need interpreters

When we go to buy and sell.

The men of my own stock,

Bitter bad they may be,

But, at least, they hear the things I hear,

And see the things I see;

And whatever I think of them and their likes

They think of the likes of me.

Rudyard Kipling, "The Stranger"

Relationships Matter

It's not difficult to build relationships with those you know well and with whom you share similar goals, values, and tastes. Their assumptions and ways of viewing the world are familiar. Their behavior, even when disagreeable, is predictable, and they can be influenced by known methods. But organizations are filled with people who are "strangers," who view the world differently because they work for differing functions and managers; are a different sex, age, race, ethnicity, country of origin; or have different training and experiences—all resulting from the requirement to bring diverse expertise to bear on complex organizational problems. A wider range of people, backgrounds, and views is needed than in Kipling's time. Then, members of the British Administrative Services were trained to "think like the Queen" so ...

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