The 5 Building Blocks of Relationships

Relationships are the building blocks for good business. However, like Rome, relationships are not built in a day. They take time and effort to construct – step by step, brick by brick. But where do you start? What makes a good relationship?

Building the Relationship Pyramid


Relationship PyramidAs with any sturdy, long-lasting structure, you must start with a good base. For relationships, whether personal or professional, this means building a solid foundation of Trust, defined as a “reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” In layman’s terms, trust is one person’s confidence in another. In the business world, this is extremely important. It is essential to an effective team, an effective business. We must trust our co-workers, our teammates. We must trust that they will do their jobs. We must trust that they will pull their own weight and add value to the team.

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.” – Frank Crane

If you do not trust the person next to you, what kind of relationship is that really? Unfortunately, building trust is not always easy. As theologian Isaac Watts once said, “Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.” Trust must be earned. And until we have a solid foundation of trust, we can never truly build a meaningful relationship. Without trust you have nothing.


The Next building block is the ability to Communicate.

In 2009, Watson Wyatt , Inc., a global consulting firm that merged with Towers Perrin in January 2010 to form Towers Watson, reported that companies that communicated effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders between 2004 and 2009. In this report, the company noted that “Effective internal communications can keep employees engaged in the business and help companies retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers, and deliver superior financial performance to shareholders.”

Communication plays an important role in every aspect of business, taking many forms: written, verbal, and nonverbal. The ability to communicate clearly is critical  on so many levels, and yet it is something that many companies take for granted. But good communication, like trust, is learned. And, just as everyone is different, the way you communicate with everyone must be different as well.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

One easy way to constantly improve communication and relationships is via feedback.  At the end of a conversation, provide good, positive feedback. Having such a feedback loop ensures that the receiver didn’t just get the message but understands the intent. Remember, every moment is a teachable moment and even criticism should be given in a positive way to ensure it is received properly.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

A good feedback loop is good at constantly improving processes and performance by assessing against benchmarks and pre-determined goals.

Problem Solving – Being Open To Be Creative

Every job involves some degree of problem solving, whether it is trying to figure out how to more effectively reach your target audience, trying to debug computer code, or trying to find the source and cause of a leaky pipe. Problem solving is a fundamental aspect of all teams. So what does this have to do with relationships? Understanding and engagement. According to “18 Statistics About Company Culture You Can’t Afford To Ignore,” companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.” – Andrew Carnegie

We must be open to alternative ideas to effectively problem solve. Remember that everyone brings a different point of view and perspective to the team, based on their culture, upbringing, role in the organization, etc. Being open and understanding to possibilities is important. However, this also doesn’t mean blindly agreeing with everyone. In fact, it is perfectly okay to disagree with a co-worker or teammate, as long as it is done in a positive way. And this brings us to the next level of our relationship pyramid: collaboration.


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Collaboration as the ability “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something.” In other words, collaboration is teamwork. This is perhaps never more important than in the workplace, where you throw a group of individuals together and expect them to easily communicate and work together for the greater good. Did you know that 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration for workplace failures, based on research by Talent Management?

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” – Mattie Stepanek

It requires sometimes being the leader and sometimes being the support person for a specific task or project. And it is up to you and your group to determine who will assume which roles. Once your group has vetted different solutions, you must agree and support approach. Being supportive and working together goes a long way to performing at a high level.

According to the Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, a qualitative, ethnographic, global research study of collaboration at Cisco, an American multinational technology company, “Working together and having multifaceted perspectives trumps working alone and often leads to idea propagation.”

As one participant in the study put it, “Collaboration is the bundling of experiences. Sharing the expertise and being able to leverage the experience of many people gives you diversity, and different views. It sums up to more than if you do it on your own.”


At the top of the relationship pyramid is Execution.You must have a plan that everyone understands, a plan that everyone agrees upon, a plan that everyone can support, and a plan that outlines ways to achieve your organization’s goals. And team building is a great place to start.

Building Good Relationships, Good Teams Starts with Team Building

Team building starts at the base of the pyramid and seeks to build trust among your team members. We then move our way up the pyramid until we have a solid structure, a solid pyramid. Presented in a fun and creative way, team building exercises challenge your group to step out of their comfort zones and encourage them to work together to solve certain tasks. These simple exercises help break down communication barriers and foster trust, which will, in turn, help drive productivity and promote teamwork and collaboration.

Click Here to Get Started!

Terrapin Adventures is conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC. Our custom team building programs are designed to improve communication and interoffice relationships.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at to learn more.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 at 3:46 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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