Getting to know you ….

Know Your Customers

“Sometimes you have to get to know someone
really well to realize you’re really strangers.”
Mary Tyler Moore

Every now and then, I pull out my copy of Steven Harper’s book, The Ripple Effect. I find Harper’s concept of relationship building as relevant today as it was when it was published in 2005. Yes, this is the tenth anniversary of Harper’s theory of, “Managing the Power of Relationships for Your Life and Business.”

Just after the release, I introduced my business development group, American Business Associates (ABA) to the book along with Harper’s concepts on building relationships. Even after ten years, I continue to emphasize the teaching found in The Ripple Effect, in order to demonstrate how important Harper’s theories and observations are and how they can touch every phase of our personal and business life.

In his book, Harper touches on a variety of concepts of how to overcome the challenges we face in creating meaningful relationships in life and business. For this article, I will focus on Harper’s interpretation of a personality differentiator called The Human Fabric, which is based on the theories of Bijoy Goswami.

Chapter II of The Ripple Effect explains the theory of how to build relationships for Non-People – People. “Understanding others better by understanding yourself better.” The theory is quite simple, we are not all alike! Each of us possess certain personality traits which stimulate our interests and desires. Understanding how to recognize and utilize those personality characteristics will help grow that connection beyond anything you had hoped for.

In this chapter, Harper explains Bijou’s MRE theory in a fascinating way. The MRE concept provides three categories which would designate a person’s prime personality traits. The question is, are you a Maven, Evangelist or a Relator? Everyone falls into one of these three categories by displaying certain unique temperaments that make up one’s psyche. Once we begin to understand which category a person falls into – it becomes easier for us to understand who they are and how to get to know them in a more meaningful way. As you go through life, insight into these personalities will help you understand how to stimulate someone’s mind. What will make them ‘listen’ to us? Simply put – what stimulates me may be a big yawn for you. We are not all alike!

I think you will agree that acknowledging the differences between individuals’ unique personality characteristics would be a major advantage in creating more relevant relationships.

Lets examine which category may describes you best in the MRE system.

Mavens are motivated by a quest for knowledge. They want to create order by intellectually connecting the dots. Mavens love information and details and often seem to have single track minds. They love the internet. At their best, a Maven values the exchange of knowledge and enjoys using it to help others.

Those with this personality type are motivated by the need to form and preserve relationships. A Relator is often referred to as a ‘people person’. They are nurturers: empathetic, intuitive, and patient. Strong Relators often turn into Connectors. A Connector actively seeks new and mutually beneficial relationships among friends, acquaintances or associates. If you’re a Relator, chances are you are also a Connector. Relators seem to be everywhere and seem to know everyone. To say they are extraverts may be an understatement.

An Evangelist is a person of action. He or she is extremely energetic and persuasive and perceived as a natural doer. An Evangelist’s favorite word is ‘yes’. In the world of the Evangelist, everything must have a purpose which can be applied to what they know as well as who they know. Evangelists will always have a cause and do anything to further it.

Now that you have an overview of what makes us different, think about who you know and how they fit into each category. Do you see the advantage of understanding and knowing what moves someone? The benefits of understanding the characteristics that stimulate someone’s psyche can be quite profound. I believe it can lead to better life and business experiences. You will no longer hear yourself saying – “I just don’t understand him or her”. This is the opportunity to understand and do something about improving your relationship with everyone in your community. Although people may not understand you – you are now armed with a theory of how to better understand them.

From a business standpoint, the MRE theory provides you with a distinct advantage in building business and life relationships. Knowledge is King when it comes to building a stronger bond. The more you know about someone, the more effective you can be in building a connection with that individual. Taking time to learn and understand the idiosyncrasies of a person will pay big dividends in the future.

Don’t you wish some people would take the time to understand you? Isn’t it flattering to think someone would put forth that kind of effort and be concerned about how they can help foster a deeper relationship with you? Perhaps you need to show them how to start!

As the U.S. Army slogan states – “Be All You Can Be”. Take the time to understand the Mavens, Relators and Evangelist in your world. You’ll be glad you did!

Bob Putt

The Ripple Effect
by Steve Harper
ISBN 0-9768665-0-1