How to Scale 1-1 Relationships


When the stakes are low for what you are pursuing, you might be able to get a lot of help from your broad based connections such as those in the social media. The moment stakes are high, the rules change and you have to reach out to your strong 1-1 relationships.

Michael Simmons talks about the perils of Bystander Effect that affects those that do it wrong in this wonderful article “How Gary Vaynerchuk Scales the Unscalable”

The bystander effect, or bystander apathy, is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. In other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. Several variables help to explain why the bystander effect occurs.

Simmons explains that when you are including a bunch of people in bcc and expect that ONE of them will rise up to the occasion, the exact opposite happens. Why? Everyone is thinking that someone else will respond so they don’t have to do anything.

The point is - you and I already know the power of 1-1 relationships. But if you are like most people you think that it’s pretty much impossible to scale 1-1 relationships.

It is logical to think that way because the notion of 1-1 relationships implies that things have to be executed sequentially and the moment anything is sequential, you lose leverage.

At least that’s what you might be feeling.

My goal is to prove to you by the end of the article that you can execute a few things in a parallel AND personal way. If you can do that, you have laid the foundation to scale 1-1 relationships.

Let’s get started.

1. Parallel Need not Mean “Not Personal”This is a mindset shift and you have to trust me at this point (at least until you read the rest of the article). If you have never done things in a parallel AND personal way, it is OK to be skeptical and all I am asking you is to be open to that possibility.

If you don't shift the mindset, time will become your ultimate enemy because there are only 24 hours in a day and do whatever you want, you can't change that. The moment you make this shift, you will start viewing "time" differently. You will start extracting a lot more out of your time.

Remember this classic quote from Jim Rohn - "every disciplined effort has multiple rewards."

2. Practice Instant Immersion

When you have limited time on your hand, the magic is in making every minute count. This may sound like a cliche, but you have to go back to the basics and learn to immerse yourself in the PRESENT when you are in ANY situation. Yogis might be able to do it with a snap of their fingers but it’s not something impossible when you put your mind to it.

Rather than having a series of mediocre meetings, aim to have a few meetings that become masterpieces in the lives of others who were involved in those meetings.

If you make every interaction count, your contribution to the world around you will amplify. You can be rest assured that the world around you will reciprocate in a big way.

3. Capitalize on Adjacent Networks Around Your Passions

Very few people have their work designed so well that they are living and working on things that they are passionate about ALL THE TIME. if you are one of them, congratulations. You are a winner in more ways than one. Even otherwise, there is a way to capitalize on adjacent networks surrounding your passions.

For me, I am passionate about a number of things - writing fiction, teaching courses for entrepreneurs, researching on what makes smart people get stuck (and how they can get unstuck), volunteering at a couple of voluntary organizations, blogging, writing mini sagas, accelerated learning, philosophy (Linguistic, Stoic and Vedanta), creative marketing, bringing ideas to life via bootstrapping and more. In short, my bar to get excited about anything meaningful is very low. I have adjacent networks with strong connections in almost all the areas of passion. You can only imagine the number of overlaps that can happen with what others consider as work. It has worked wonders for me over the years. I rarely do any kind of business development in these adjacent networks. But, if it happens automatically, I am always open.

In her awesome book “Good in a Room”, author Stephanie Palmer explains a practice by her friend and you will see how her friend has scaled 1-1 relationships seamlessly

I have a friend who is a successful insurance agent and loves classical music. All he does to market himself is the following: Once a month he hires a string quartet to play a concert in the house, followed by coffee and dessert. He invites his friends and tells them that they are welcome to bring along another couple who would enjoy the concert. He never talks business at these events, and many of the same people come every month. From a traditional marketing perspective, he’s not doing very well. He doesn’t see a lot of different people. He doesn’t talk business. However, he has common ground with everyone there and it’s easy to build rapport quickly with new people. After each event, he gets several new referrals.

4.The Ultimate Differentiator is Your Level of Caring

Spending time with someone is definitely important, but “genuinely caring for what they care about” easily trumps "spending your time with them."

You can remember someone’s birthday and/or their marriage anniversary and send them a card. It’s good and you will be one of the many. It’s a good start, but the right thing to do is to genuinely care for what they care about. Be someone that is a positive possibility in the future they are creating for themselves.

This means that your focus has to shift to listen and understand where they are going in their life and design part of your own life to be of “of use” to them as they pursue their quest.

As you understand the hopes and dreams of people in your close network, a few themes will emerge. Some people may want to start their own company, some others may want to write a book, some more way want to travel the world helping worthy non-profits and so on. Once you identify themes, any capacity you build to help anyone on a particular theme can easily be cross-leveraged to help others operating under the same theme.

5. Use the Right Tools Right

No, there is nothing wrong with the title of the section. You have to learn to use the right tools AND you have to learn to use them right. In the article, “7 More Unwritten Rules of Social Media” I explain that you need to pay a price to win the prize. Just because the cost of entry is low to get into social media, it does not mean that there is no cost to meaningfully contribute.

I introduce a lot of people every year. To be specific, I make anywhere between 400-600 new introductions every year. So, for me to scale, what is involved in making the right introductions have to be streamlined. I have created wits (a wit is a reusable content block) for more than 400 people in my own WittyParrot account. So, when I have to introduce two people, it will take me less than a minute. All I have to do is to drag and drop two wits (one for each person) and add some context to the introduction to show why this is a win-win for both and I am done.

You can see here how I am saving 10 hours or more per week by using WittyParrot.

I am sure you use a number of tools. Without even talking to you, I can make a claim that with some more thinking and design, you can easily extract a lot more juice from the tools that you are already using.

6. Teach Them how to Fish

I first read this probably fifteen years ago in Stephen Covey’s book “Principle-Centered Leadership” - “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

If you are not teaching, it is high time that you learn and actually love to teach. It is important that you don’t teach to impress; but to help someone “enhance their capacity to contribute.” Your audience should not leave thinking that “you are smart” but with a feeling that “they have new possibilities to contribute in a meaningfully.”

Teaching well provides you a foundation to re-purpose your content for further amplification. You can blog parts of your content, create a video and distribute the same, create a presentation and distribute via Slideshare, make a podcast by extracting audio from the same and so on.

Teach really well and allow the nature’s most powerful force - the power of reciprocation to take over the next order of business. If you do this right, you will also create such an impression that others would take part of the cost associated with maintaining the 1-1 relationship and they will do it with care and respect.

7. Put Your Deal to the “10-Year Litmus Test”

You and I are always making deals. For the rest of your life if you can get their agenda over your agenda, automatically two things happen:

a. You can get the deal done faster than normal

b. They and their friends would want to make more deals with you now and in the future.

The “perceived loss” because you have a smaller win is easily compensated with the increased speed and the ease of making deals. This is another way to boost your leverage in a significant way.

The “10-Year Litmus Test” for deal goes like this.Take any deal. Fast forward your life 10 years from now. Reflect on the deal that you made ten years ago. Do you still feel that it was more than fair for the other person involved in the deal? If yes, then you have passed the “10-Year Litmus Test” for deals.


About the author

Rajesh “Raj” Setty is a serial entrepreneur and a business alchemist based in Silicon Valley. He currently serves as the president of WittyParrot. He was instrumental in founding several US or India based technology and publishing companies. He has authored and published 13 books so far with his first book being published at the age of thirteen. He has published more than 1850 blog posts so far. You can read his blog and follow him on him on Facebook or Twitter.


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