bank accountI have a colleague who has been trying to get cooperation from a partner organization that I also happen to work with. I’ve been very pleased with the relationship I have, but he’s quite frustrated at the moment.

What’s the difference?

To me, it seems clear. I invested before I expected dividends. He’s wanting immediate results.

Perhaps you’re familiar with Stephen Covey’s concept of the emotional bank account. The idea is that every interaction you have with someone is an opportunity to either make a deposit (improve the relationship) our withdrawal (expect something.)

It’s a powerful concept, incredibly useful when you’re thinking about relationships.

Even simpler, it’s about trust. You build it slowly, over a long period of time. Then when an act of damaging trust happens – when you make a mistake – the relationship remains if you have enough trust “in the bank.” Otherwise, things fall apart.

My observation is that this colleague hasn’t developed enough trust with this partner, and it’s too early to expect their cooperation. My advice? Keep giving and communicating, week after week.

The relationship will come, if he demonstrates his trustworthiness.