Your mother was right about first impressions being important, but they’re not always the ones you want to rely upon when it comes to building a working relationship. This is particularly true if you think the other person lacks the ability to do the right things the right way based upon what you’ve heard from others.
Past performance is not a reliable prediction for the future. You really don’t get a clear sense of what another person brings to the relationship until you’ve given her or him a second and third look.
At first glance, what someone else may contribute to the project may not seem as important as what you have to offer. What he or she does have, however, is a unique interpretation of how the task should be accomplished or the problem could be resolved. Something you couldn’t possibly know unless you invited that person to share his or her perspective or ideas without fear of criticism or prejudice.
In every relationship there will always be at least two expectations that need to be fully explored before either party takes any action. Your objective then is to focus on the source of the differing viewpoints and not to persuade the other person to change his or her way of thinking. After all you can’t influence what another person thinks unless you first understand the basis for his or her thoughts.
It is important for both sides to understand how the other’s view was formed. A mutual exploration of individual expectations is an opportunity to clarify both positions while gaining a better understanding of what the other person anticipates when the actual work begins.
When the other person meets your expectations, you’re left with good feelings about the relationship and the prospects of working with him or her again. That’s what builds a solid, long-lasting relationship.