2019-04-08 Issue 54 – Fundamental Behavior 14 – Invest in relationships
As we go about our daily lives, it’s easy to think that we would be happier if only we had more money, a better car or a bigger house. But in fact, scientific research tells us that it’s not money that makes us happy. Psychologist Martin Seligman’s model of happiness () concluded that there are five core elements of psychological well-being and happiness: Positive Emotion; Engagement; Relationships; Meaning; and Accomplishments.
It’s no surprise that “Relationships” is included in this list. Relationships are critical to our well-being. They help us cope with stress or adversity, and they also help us learn, achieve our goals, and find purpose and meaning in life. Research also shows that we find our jobs more fulfilling when we have positive relationships with the people with whom we work.
So how can we build positive work relationships? One way is through building trust. YKK’s founder, Tadao Yoshida, taught us, “Even if it takes a long time, it is vital that you always conduct business from the perspective of the other person. The trust gained thereby is an enormous asset.” He also cautioned us that trust is fragile. “Anyone can gain a certain degree of trust. However, what is important is transparency in that trust. This is not something that can be gained overnight. It must be trust that is built up over such a long period of time that it emanates from your entire body and mind. If you speak ill of others, act in a manner that causes problems for others, and seek only personal benefit, the trust you have built up over many years will disappear.” Tadao Yoshida’s teachings on the importance of trust in building relationships is so important to how YKK conducts business that it eventually became part of our third Core Value, “Build trust, transparency, and respect.”
Relationships are relatively easy to build when things are going well, but the real test comes during times of adversity. One example of this is YKK’s actions during the 1973 oil crisis. As the supply of toilet paper, detergent, kerosene, gasoline and other commodities became tight, many companies in Japan began engaging in price gouging and withholding goods from the market. But Tadao Yoshida refused to give in to the temptation to raise prices. He told employees, “This situation is temporary and will soon recover. Now is not the time to gouge prices or withhold goods. YKK should be prepared to take a 10 billion yen loss due to increased material prices caused by increased oil prices. We should do business by depleting our inventory and gaining the confidence of customers by working for them.”
Take a moment to think about your relationships with your co-workers and customers. As Tadao Yoshida advised, do you always consider the perspective of the other person? Or are you only seeking personal benefit from the relationship? We should all be striving to build long-term relationships with our co-workers and our customers, and one of the best ways to do that is to think about how to best serve them. In doing so, we will build positive relationships based on trust, which will ultimately give our own work more meaning and bring greater happiness to our lives.
Vice President, PR and Communications
YKK Corporation of America