People Relationship Mathematics
In the world of textbooks, I worked on problems in Discrete Mathematics for kids. Discrete math includes finite algorithms that do not go on beyond a particular problem or scenario. I have decided that in order to keep the world in balance, I’m adding to that a distinct pattern I’ve noticed about business, PRM — People Relationship Mathematics. PRM is about what folks mean when they say, “do the math.”
In general career management, PRM is more diverse and applicable than traditional mathematics. Every thing we do relates to the people and how we relate to each other. If we do the math on that idea from the very first moment, business life can be much more of a pleasure. Take it from me — I remember well the days I didn’t know that.
Let’s start from the beginning. Beginning — that’s a great word. There are more beginnings than we might suspect. Here are a few:
- first day at a new company
- first day in a new role
- first day with a new boss
- first day with a new client or new customer
Any one of those and youÃ¢â¬â¢re the new guy all over again. Whether you go to work at a home office or one down the road, Personal Relationship Mathematics says you have to show up.
Showing up is like long division, a whole lot trickier than it looks. Showing up requires paying attention to everyone and everything thatÃ¢â¬â¢s going on. It also means doing the best work that youÃ¢â¬â¢ve ever doneÃ¢â¬âbeginning, middle, and end.
Day one Ã¢â¬â- thatÃ¢â¬â¢s 100 days in PRM –is when you build a concrete foundation. What people think, decide really, about you now will determine whether they will forgive you then. The relationships you forge on the proverbial day one are your safety net.
Do the PMR to pass the first test. The first test always outweighs the final.
Why The First Test Outweighs the Final
Dr. Delaney Kirk calls this impression management, which is a great Personal Relationship Mathematics term. I learned the concept in college.
A good freshman, I went to class, participated, got to know people — showed an interest. I studied hardest for the first test to prove that I was serious. I aced that test and the two after it. That spring, I had a blaster of a migraine on the day of the final. I couldn’t get my eyes to focus. I couldn’t think. I walked a little funny. My medication then was a narcotic.
The professor let me take the test in his office. I wonder whether he even read my answers. I imagine they were incredibly creative, and worth flunking with flaming colors. Yet, he gave me an A in the class.
It was Personal Relationship Mathematics that he used to calculate that final grade.
If you pay attention to people and ace the first test, people are generous when you have a problem on the final.
Personal Relationship Mathematics is like a virtual bank account, an investment in yourself. You make it by paying sincere attention to the needs of other people. Mathematicians might say it’s an inverse relationship formula.
How do you “do the math” in the personal relationships in your business?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you think Liz can help with your PRM, check out the Perfect Virtual Manager on the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
Business Rule 2: How to Do What You Want
Business Rule 1: Working at Home and Doing it Right
Delaney Kirk says
Having taken a one year visiting professorship at the University of South Florida-St Petersburg this year, I got to experience a “first” day/semester again after 17 years at Drake University. It’s been a good PRM test for me as I’ve had to get out and spend face time meeting new people while struggling with learning new processes, politics, etc. I highly recommend taking a risk and doing something new to jolt one out of one’s comfort zone.
ME Strauss says
Yes, I can see how new firsts also contribute to new growth spurts. I should have thought to talk about that. It could you just inspired a new post. 🙂
Carolyn Manning says
I’ve been so occupied with setting up the new site, it’s been hard to do my usual daily galavanting. Things are a bit settled now.
This is a great series.
Part 1: Yes it’s work. It can be passionately fun and still be life work.
Part 2: That one can be tricky.
Part 3: I like what you say about PVM being an investment in ourselves by paying attention to the needs of other people. So true, so true.
Hmmm…I could be oversimplifying this, but I’ll pipe in anyway.
It would seem you’ve given a pithy name (a good one) to a collection of long-standing principles:
1. You only have one chance to make a first impression with someone. Make it the right one.
2. Being self-absorbed won’t get you very far.
3. Being genuinely interested, responsive, compassionate, and empathetic will.
4. Doing #3 creates good karma for you, and for your relationship with the person in question. (What I call karma my good friend Carolyn in California calls “good ju-ju”.)
5. Good karma/ju-ju/relationships pull your butt out of the fire (if it’s already in) or away from the fire (if it’s too close). It’s maybe not quite the equivalent of the “get out of jail free” card, but it will help you pass Go and collect your $200.
ME Strauss says
I think every second that you’ve spent on your new blog has been time well invested. Thanks for the feedback on this series. I like too!
ME Strauss says
You are right on every count, including the pithy name part. 🙂
Malcolm Gladwell calls it Positive Override. Whatever we call it. It’s worth paying attention to the folks around us. THEY are the business that we’re into. 🙂
I think more people should think about the ” experience” before they deliver it. Pine and Gilmore spent time talking about that in their book “The Experience Economy”, but it’s too easy to get caught up in our own experience to manager others’. [e.g., I get so caught up spouting my ideas in comments that I forget to read them as someone who has never heard of me before]
That makes a lot of sense to me as did the whole post Liz. The 100 days is an accurate guesstimate if you undertsand what I’m trying to say. It’s kind of like three months employment probation.
ME Strauss says
I’m with you and Whitney on the whole thing. I hear what you’re saying. It’s a guestimate, but a good one. Really it’s a long enough time to develop a habit that, hopefully, with stick for the duration. 🙂