It is not all that uncommon to hear of colleagues who have at some point incalculably begun to weave a familiar tapestry of burning bridges. “Don’t burn bridges”, of course! It sounds obvious. Much in the same way that zonal marking in football ought to be avoided. Dissatisfied supporters can frequently be found loitering on Twitter vehemently arguing its ineffective implementation, the fall of once great managers is often precipitated by zonal marking due to its many obvious flaws. People loathe the use of zonal marking; I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the fall of the global capitalist system was in some way triggered by a zonal marking system!
The relationship between zonal marking and burning bridges might appear to be inane (you’d be right in your assertion), however building bridges at all costs remains an effective strategy that only a small segment of an audience adopt. It is customary to express gratitude and it is a simple mechanism to build relationships. Equally there is a huge mental upside when demonstrating acknowledgement. My own attempts to approach both personal and professional relationships are led by abiding by three simple rules; acknowledge, conduct business in confidence and maintain transparency at all times.
Self destructing and tarnishing relationships might appear obvious tendencies to avoid, yet it does beg the question; Why is it that many of us fail to display constant vigilance whilst ensuring that levels of trust, honesty and transparency are respected?
By virtue of my position at Thompson & Terry I can retrospectively look beyond these infrequent lapses of common courtesy, after all it is not all that uncommon. However, poor professional conduct (which goes beyond missing the occasional ‘thank you’) is something that doesn’t go unnoticed. Consider the role and lasting impact that abrasive conversation starters might play in the future; If the conversation is a non-starter it is best practise to conclude the conversation politely. I have first hand experience of dealings with disenfranchised and disassociated professionals. Whilst I am able to detach myself from their frustrations (should that person react negatively) and I am able treat each individual case dispassionately, others may not be so forgiving.
A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way and may also be to your future benefit. Remember when that candidate, client or recruiter recalls positive experiences from you last conversations it might be the difference maker whether they choose to next pick up the phone again.