Building and developing relationships are key in any setting, whether it be family, organizations you belong to, or a work environment. Relationships are a significant factor in achieving success. Yet, many struggle to develop the relationships needed to move an issue, change a mind, or simply talk through a difficult matter.
As a former State Representative, I have been on the receiving end of lots of advice, both solicited and unsolicited. One lesson that I had to learn the hard way is there are no permanent friends in politics, but the opposite is true also, there are no permanent enemies. I am sure any aspiring political insider has heard this piece of advice several times over. I believe it is those who truly embrace the meaning of “no permanent friends…no permanent enemies” that truly achieve their goals at the end of the day.
Embracing the concept doesn’t mean you eat lunch by yourself because you can’t trust the people in your circle. It simply means that you don’t ride an emotional rollercoaster and burn bridges. In a politically charged environment, it is easy to embrace those who have similar worldviews and condemn those who do not. I learned very early in Lansing that losing on an important issue in the legislature was much like losing a basketball game. During the game, where there were numerous flagrant fouls, a couple of fights, and some disrespectful words exchanged. However, at the end of the basketball game, every player lines up and shakes the other team’s hand. Lansing is sort of that way, also. Whether its caucus politics or Democrat vs Republican, everyone is best served when we line up at the end of the day and shake hands. Those political leaders (elected or not) who can embrace a relationship with those who differ in opinion are the leaders who achieve the most. There is never a door closed to those individuals, but an extended hand waiting to greet them. In business that is half the battle.
Next time you find yourself at odds or on the short end of a decision, know that there will be other battles to fight and those who you find yourself at odds with this time, may be your ally the next time. That’s why burning bridges is never an option. As a matter of fact, it was how you react in those times of defeat that define your opportunities moving forward. Remember, no permanent friends…no permanent enemies.
Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.