Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

人際關係是事業成功之鑰

By Jim Mathis

請容我先講一段簡短的攝影歷史來強調人際關係對事業的重要性:最近我到美國德州奧斯汀一間燈光朦朧的俱樂部工作,拍攝一位音樂家的照片。那個場所的燈光太微弱,所以我把照相機的感光度(ISO)調到12,800。這在攝影界是一個驚人的數字,是在最近幾年才達到的。這在使用膠卷的時代是不可能的,那時感光度到400就被認為接近實際的極限了。

1960年代當我在讀大學時,一間照相館打出廣告,聲稱他們能把Ektachrome高速膠卷的速度從一般的160推到1600,即使膠卷的製造商柯達都正式地聲明這不可能。膠卷的「推處理」就像放了一個超級充電器,迫使它作出超越製造商原定的事。那間照相館的名字是「艾爾金.史密斯的35號工作室」,座落在堪薩斯州的草原村。

因此,當我在1971年搬到堪薩斯市時,我決定去見那位艾爾金.史密斯(Elgin Smith),而且我們很快變成好朋友。1973年當我開始了自己的照相館,艾爾金成為我的導師,多年來教導我許多事。

在我開始自己的事業後,很快我就了解有艾爾金作保護者在生意上是極大的資產。我懷疑若沒有他的鼓勵和關照,我與妻子開的照相館是否會這麼成功。

從那些年之後,我就學到人際關係是事業成功之鑰,不論你從事哪個領域的工作。這包括與同樣行業中前輩的關係(就像艾爾金對我),同輩之間的關係,而可能最重要的是與客戶和潛在客戶的關係。這就是為什麼,到今天為止,我花相當多的時間與朋友在一起。我們聽了許多有關「人脈」的價值,但對我而言,那似乎太算計了。沒有別的事能比得上與人們為友,享受他們的陪伴,且彼此受益。

有人可能會問:「若潛在客戶從沒跟你作生意,怎麼辦?你是否浪費了許多時間?」不。大部份的人都值得認識,即使他們沒有成為客戶或將你推薦給別人。我們可以透過我們遇到的每個人學到東西並得以成長。當然,這不是一個新的觀念。幾千年前所寫成的聖經談了許多有關這方面的事。以下是一些例子:

人際關係能提升我們的生活。在大多數的情況下,我們都可以彼此學習--我們有不同的長處、興趣和觀點,這些都能讓我們彼此受益。所以不要低估你的人際關係。「鐵磨鐵,磨出刃來;朋友相感也是如此」(箴言27章17節)。

愈多人際關係就更有力量。你可能聽過兩頭牛能比一頭牛拉更多倍的東西。同樣的,與別人有連結我們就更能有效地達成我們的目標。「兩個人總比一個人好,因為二人勞碌同得美好的果效。若是跌倒,這人可以扶起他的同伴;若是孤身跌倒,沒有別人扶起他來,這人就有禍了。有人攻勝孤身一人,若有二人便能敵擋他;三股合成的繩子不容易折斷」(傳道書4章9-12節)。

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。

省思 / 討論題目
你大多在哪裡結交朋友:在職場中、社區中、教會中、或在你特別興趣和嗜好的領域中? 你可否想到你也有很享受的一份友情,就像本文作者遇到艾爾金.史密斯一樣出乎意料,但成為長期的朋友和生命導師?若有,請描述那友誼對你而言像是什麼。 你對你的顧客和客戶--以及潛在顧客的態度如何?你是否評估他們是否對你有利益?或者你不帶任何條件地珍惜那些友誼? 你對聖經中有關友誼的比喻--鐵磨鐵,三股的繩子不容易斷--有何看法?若你想看或討論聖經對此主題的其他部份,請看以下經文:尼希米記2章17-3章32節(一個真正的團隊努力);馬太福音6章7-12節;提摩太後書2章2節

RELATIONSHIPS KEY TO BUSINESS SUCCESS
By Jim Mathis

Bear with me as I give a brief photographic history lesson to underscore the importance of relationships in business: Recently I was at work in a dimly lit club in Austin, Texas, U.S.A. shooting photos of a musician. The establishment had poor lighting, so I increased my camera”s ISO (light sensitivity) to 12,800. This is an amazing number in photography, made possible only in recent years. It was not possible in photography”s film era when an ISO of 400 was considered close to the limit of practicality.

When I was in college in the 1960s, a photo lab advertised they could push High Speed Ektachrome (slide film) from its usual speed of 160 to 1600, even though the manufacturer Kodak officially said this was impossible. “Push-processing” of film was like putting a supercharger on it, forcing it to do something beyond what the manufacturer intended. The name of this lab was "Elgin Smith’s Studio 35," located in Prairie Village, Kansas.

Because of this, when I moved to Kansas City in 1971 I determined to meet and introduce myself to Elgin Smith, and we soon became good friends. When I opened my own custom photo lab in 1973, Elgin became my mentor and he taught me much over the years.

After starting my business I soon realized being associated with Elgin as a protégé was a huge asset to the business. It is doubtful my wife and I would have been as successful with our photography company as we were had it not been for his encouragement and referrals.

In the years since, I have learned relationships are the key to business success, no matter what your field of endeavor might be. This includes relationships with older people in the same business (as like Elgin was for me), relationships with peers, and maybe most important, relationships with clients and potential clients. This is why, to this day, I spend a significant amount of my time hanging out with friends. We hear a lot about the value of “networking,” but for me that seems too calculating. There is no substitute for just being friends with people, enjoying their company, and benefiting from being around one another.

Someone might ask, “What if the potential client never does business with you? Has your time been wasted?” No. Most people are worth knowing even if they never become customers or send you a referral. We can learn something and grow through everybody we meet. Of course, this is not a new concept. The Bible, written thousands of years ago, says much about it. For example:

Relationships mutually enhance our lives. In most cases, we learn from one another – we have different strengths, interests and perspectives we can benefit from. So do not underestimate the value of your relationships. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Relationships provide strength in numbers. You may have heard that two oxen can pull many times more together than one ox can do individually. In the same way, in relationship with others, we can be more effective and successful in achieving our goals. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 49-12).

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Where do you establish the majority of your relationships: at work, in your community, at church, or in the midst of your special interests and hobbies? How would you characterize these relationships? Can you think of a very special relationship you have enjoyed that came about in an unexpected way, such as the way Mr. Mathis met Elgin Smith, who became a longtime friend and mentor? If so, describe what that has been like for you. What is your attitude toward your customers and clients – as well as potential customers and clients? Do you tend to regard them in terms of how they can benefit you, or do you value those relationships without “strings attached” or conditions? How do you respond to the biblical metaphors for relationships – comparing them to iron sharpening iron, or a cord of three or more strands that cannot be broken easily?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Nehemiah 2:17-3:32 (a true team effort); Mark 6:7-12; 2 Timothy 2:2

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