How Meaningful Relationships Lead to Better Results

How Meaningful Relationships Lead to Better Results

When I worked as an assistant director of admissions in the mid-1980s, I interviewed over 300 high school students and their families each year. Many of the conversations were fulfilling and memorable, yet I found myself feeling empty. I had just gotten to know them, and suddenly our contact ended abruptly. It was the nature of the job, but something about it felt wrong.

Maybe I’d receive a thank-you note from some students or wave to others on campus the following semester, but there was no depth to the relationships. The experience ended up being quite formative. I knew from that point forward that building relationships mattered to me. 

I went on to start my own company, where I facilitated and ran week-long, intensive seminars for teachers and corporate trainers on the nature of learning and how to create better learning environments. While these interactions went deeper than those I had in my previous role, they still only lasted a week. 

Again, I found myself wanting more. I adjusted the offering to include follow-up coaching sessions, which lasted for years in some cases. Finally, I was able to form the deep and meaningful relationships I wanted in my professional life. Unsurprisingly, this approach didn’t just improve the experience for me; it also improved the experience—and the results—for my clients. 

Building meaningful relationships became so essential to me throughout my career that when I started MindMax, I made sure it was one of our core values

What Building Meaningful Relationships Looks Like in Practice

Our “build meaningful relationships” core value states: “We love working with each other and enjoy personal relationships within all of our partnerships.” Here’s what that looks like in MindMax’s partnerships with higher education institutions:

Taking a people-first approach 

Our team enters every higher education marketing or enrollment engagement with the understanding that we’re building a relationship with a person (or people), not a school. A school doesn’t have thoughts or feelings or opinions. But a person does—and building a relationship with that person is deeply satisfying on a fundamental level. 

This approach inspires mutual respect, appreciation, and empathy. A person who works at a school can appreciate what we’re doing, just like a person at our company can appreciate what they’re doing. 

I’m proud that my team maintains meaningful relationships across the board—with people we’ve never worked with, no longer work with, and still work with. I can genuinely say that some of the people who have been MindMax clients over the years are my good friends.

Establishing trust 

I shared an anecdote recently about how MindMax came in second for a higher education marketing RFP selection because we admitted we didn’t know the optimal plan (at least not at the time we submitted a proposal). It’s true—we never want to guarantee an outcome we can’t deliver on, and it takes time to figure out the formula for success for a particular school or program. 

Asking clients to take that journey with us can be a bit like asking them to take a leap of faith—and that’s where establishing a strong relationship rooted in trust proves critical. Leading with honesty and transparency helps us gain our clients’ trust as people, which makes them more likely to trust our process and get results. 

(By the way: the client who didn’t select us initially came back to us eventually. I’m sure it had something to do with the relationship we built with them during the RFP process.) 

Having difficult conversations 

Good relationships aren’t contingent upon both parties always agreeing with one another or seeing eye to eye on an issue. Alternatively, I believe one of the keys to a meaningful relationship is the willingness to engage in difficult conversations. When done in good faith, working through a problem together only makes a relationship stronger.

Clients have approached me with feedback that was hard to hear, and we’ve always managed to talk through it and come out the other side better for it. If I hadn’t put in the effort to build those relationships, they might never have said anything. Maybe they’d let the issue simmer and choose not to renew their contract when the time came.

Instead, the trust and goodwill derived from our commitment to building relationships allowed both parties to have their voices heard and achieve healthy closure regarding the issue at hand.

Meaningful Relationships Make Life More Enjoyable 

Meaningful relationships make life more enjoyable. I learned early on that building relationships helps fulfill me professionally, and I plan to continue doing just that for the rest of my career. 

When you work with MindMax, you’ll see first-hand how our commitment to building meaningful relationships sets us apart from other higher education marketing partners. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can support you with our people-first approach.