Ed Wallace


Integrity is, quite simply, being trustworthy in our actions and character.

Slide3Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching, like leaving our business card on the windshield of a car we just bumped in the parking lot.

It is saying what we are going to do and then doing it. Integrity is the quality of having honest and truthful motivations for our actions. This translates directly into applying the principle of worthy intent in all of our interactions in the business world.

Everyone wants to believe they can be trusted and can trust others in life and business. Many clients gauge our integrity by the way we make our commitments and deliver on them. After we have established that we are credible, our clients will begin to ask us to make commitments to them in the form of contracting for goods, services, and solutions.

When we deliver what we promised, we display our integrity and reinforce the client’s trust. In doing so, this opportunity further advances the business relationship and increases the distinctive value of our relational capital.

Integrity is also about expectations, making sure we set them appropriately and then consistently delivering on them.

The old phrase about commitments, “under promise and over deliver,” actually contradicts the worthy intent that we should strive to bring into our business relationships.


Trust begins with commitments which are the promises we make in business. Don’t make promises you can’t keep during business discussions. Even if they are made casually, somewhere along the line you’ll be held to your word. Failing to produce what you’ve promised will create atrophy in the relationship and close the door to any future opportunities.


Ed Wallace


The American Heritage Dictionary defines credibility as “The power to elicit belief.”

Slide2Credibility is the quality that makes others believe in you, your words, and your actions. Credibility is the gatekeeper quality. expiration of domains . If you don’t first establish credibility and competence with your prospect or client, you will struggle to create anything more than a transactional relationship with that individual.

Your credibility has a major impact on your success in any business relationship. We frequently discuss creating trust-based relationships, but unless you are credible early on, your opportunities to display trustworthiness will be limited.

As client-facing professionals, we all want our clients to trust us. Once they do, we can start doing things for them in order to move the process along. However, until we are deemed credible and competent, why should clients trust us?

Credible people transcend the automatic sense of urgency that permeates much of today’s world by working to identify real priorities and opportunities.

One way to get started during conversations is to establish common ground with questions like:

  • “Tell me about how this project connects to the company’s strategy?”
  • “What are you personally looking to achieve with this initiative?”
  • “How long have you been with the company?”
  • Or when all else fails…”Where are you from?”


My friend and mentor Max, the famous taxi driver, called this approach “sincere inquiry.”

  1. First, try focusing on blocking out all distractions like checking your blackberry during the conversation.
  2. Second, listen intently.
  3. Third, confirm your understanding and follow up with a question that displays you listened and conveys your interest in the topic.

Credibility begins with taking the time to become interested in aspects of your colleague’s business goals and objectives.

Three Essential Qualities

Relational Capital
The distinctive value created by people in a business relationship.

Your ability to advance business relationships by creating relational capital with your clients is the most impactful way for you to distinguish yourself in your client interactions. In my book, Business Relationships That Last, I discuss the principle of worthy intent as the foundational, or “going in,” approach to every business relationship.

In the next series of blog posts, I will explore the three essential qualities that are at work as you create relational capital in every one of your business relationships.

Your credibility, integrity, and authenticity constitute the essential foundation upon which you build relational capital in the business world. These qualities impact how you are perceived and valued, and their convergence results in the relational attributes that attach to you in every business relationship.

Credibility, integrity, and authenticity are present in every business relationship to some degree because each of us possesses. these qualities. In outstanding business relationships, however, these qualities form the very basis of the relationship, leading to many competitive advantages and rewards for client-facing professionals.

And while each quality is important in its own right, understanding how the three converge is the key to creating relational capital with each business contact.

Many businesspeople perceive these qualities to be very similar; in fact, my clients routinely substitute one for the other during our discussions.

Looking closer, however, we can see that there are important fine distinctions among the definitions of each term, as well as a distinct order in how each one manifests itself in a business relationship.

job-thank-you-note-1A unique way for you to follow up with someone after an initial contact is to send him or her a handwritten note…even if the meeting doesn’t go well, and even if you don’t have a follow up meeting.

Send that person a handwritten note.

I talk about this in my latest book, Business Relationships That Last, about how this small act of writing a personal note leaves a lasting impression.

A Personal Perspective

What do you usually receive in the mail? Now days, most of us receive bills, junk mail, and catalogues or advertising materials.

When you open up the mailbox and pull out an envelope addressed by hand, to you – what goes through your mind?

Most people respond to that with, “Wow, this person took CursiveThankYouthe time to think about what they wanted to say, to write the note, to address it, to put it in an envelope and put a stamp on it, to address it and to put it in the mailbox.”

When you really think about it, it takes just as long to compose an email as it does to write a handwritten note.

The distinguishing difference? It’s visual – and personal.

The email looks just like every other email on the recipient’s screen. With a handwritten note, you create more of a personal contact; you make more of an impression on someone because they are touching something that you created with your hands and sent specifically to them.

It’s a kinetic experience, and in today’s world of digital media, it creates a deeply personal connection.

Many of my students are doing this now, and even my clients are doing this on stationary that they’ve created and personalized. These are large corporations with great track records, yet they have begun using handwritten notes to follow up after meetings, and even to “ask for the sale.”

pen-to-paper_sidebarIt doesn’t matter what level you are at in your career …

A handwritten note may seem like a little thing – but like so often in life – it’s the littlest things that make the most powerful impressions.

Relational GPS: The Road Map to Outstanding Business Relationships

“Instead of just wishing that better business contacts would magically appear in your professional life, drive the business contacts you’ve already established to more productive and rewarding levels. The initial step of pinpointing your core relationships will lead you toward participating with an actual person rather than with a digital line in a CRM system or on Linked In. A process, however, for driving your core relationships to success, is also vital. I call this process understanding your contact’s Relational GPS.”

–Ed Wallace