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Andrew Sobel & Jerold Panas

Book Report by Gary Tomlinson

A Book Report on

Power Relationships

(26 Irrefutable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationships)

By Andrew Sobel & Jerold Panas


(Book Report by Gary Tomlinson)


Preface:  There are powerful Laws that determine whether your relationships with your clients, colleagues, family and friends thrive or wither.  These relationship Laws are ever-present.  When you align with them, the results are dramatic.  Your network will grow rapidly.  You’ll be seen by clients as a trusted partner rather than an expense to be managed.  And you will find people around you eager to help you succeed.  When you ignore the Laws, however, it’s like going against the grain.  Your efforts will falter.  Relationship building will seem like very hard work – even fruitless.


Below are 26 irrefutable Laws that will help you build power relationships.  These are professional and personal relationships characterized by trust, loyalty, respect and generosity.  They enable you to thrive in your career and give you deep personal fulfillment.  They pass the tests of experience and common sense.


Law #1: “Power relationships are based on great conversations, not one person showing the other how much they know.”


Restrain your urge to impress others.  Improve your conversations and you’ll grow your relationships.  Use these five strategies:


  1. Evaluate your current conversations.  How many of them meet the criteria for being great?  For example, do your conversations help you and the other person:

    • Reflect and sharpen your views?

    • Improve your understanding of a problem or challenge?

    • Learn more about each other?

    • Feel moved or fulfilled?

    • Leave the discussion energized and wanting more?

  2. Stop presenting or pitching to others.  Turn every presentation – be it to a client prospect or to your boss – intro a true give and take.  Pause every four or five minutes to ask questions, probe for understanding and create dialogue.

  3. Start actually listening and responding.  Other people know you’re listening when you ask thoughtful questions about what they just said.  When you synthesize and affirm.  When you share relevant examples.  When you empathize.

  4. Bring passions and emotion into your conversations, not just facts and analysis.  Ask, “How did you feel about that?” as well as “What did you think?”

  5. Make sure you’re talking about the right things.  Don’t be afraid to ask someone, “From your perspective, what’s the most important issue we should be talking about right now?”


Law #2: “Be unafraid to ask.”


Here are steps you can take to begin crossing relational distances that you thought were insurmountable:


  1. With whom would you like to connect?  A well-known entrepreneur?  A thought leader in your field?  A CEO?  Be bold.  Make a list.

  2. Next to each name, write down why that individual might be willing to help you.

  3. Just do it.  Start contacting the names on your list.  There are many ways of getting in touch.  There are some CEOs who will immediately answer their e-mail.  Try the phone.

  4. Social media offers new opportunities to connect with outstanding or famous people.  You could start by following them on Twitter or on their blog and leaving comments.  Eventually, your name may become familiar with them – and then they may take your call or answer your e-mail.

  5. Don’t give up just because you’ve been turned down.  Successful people usually admire persistence.  You might get a yes on the third try.

  6. Don’t go too far and pester or annoy people.  If multiple attempts haven’t worked, take a break!

  7. If you connect, mention something that you know is important to the other person – perhaps something they wrote or an accomplishment they are proud of.



Law #3: “Follow the person, not the position.”


Don’t wait!   In 5 or 10 years your network-building task will be much more difficult.


  • Make a list of 12 to 15 people you know who are not yet at the peak of their success or careers.  Pick passionate, motivated, talented individuals.

  • Ascertain what their top three to five goals and priorities are.  Knowing these, decide how you can best add value while you stay in touch:

    • Ideas and content.  Send them ideas, suggestions, perspectives, articles, books, etc. that relate to one of their interests.

    • Connection.  You can add great value by connecting your key contacts to other people in your network.

    • Personal help.  Are they new in town and do they need help navigating schools and doctors?  Can you offer some career advice? How else can you help?

    • Fun.  Can you invite them to a meal, a sporting or cultural event or something else that you both would enjoy?

  • Organize your staying-in-touch activities.  Put them in your calendar so that each month you are implementing two or three activities to connect and support these individuals.



Law #4: “The greatest gift is to believe in someone.”


When the young Beatles were performing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in the early 1960s, they were unknown.  Enter Brian Epstein, who ran a family furniture store.  He had utterly no credentials to become the Beatles’ manager.  But they hire him and he was instrumental in helping them rise to fame.  Do you know what was possibly his greatest contribution to the Beatles?  His utter and total belief in their greatness, well before they were recognized by the broader public.


“They are going to be bigger that Elvis,” he confidently told anyone who would listen.  Epstein relentlessly promoted the group, eventually getting them a record deal.  And they did become bigger than Elvis, ultimately selling over 1.4 billion records.  The Beatles innate talent was fundamental to their success, but Epstein’s unwavering belief in the young John, Paul, George and Ringo was absolutely essential to their early development.


Start telling others how you believe in them:


  • Who could use your support?  Who do you know who needs mentoring and caring – someone to believe in them?  Perhaps a family member or a colleague.

  • Begin by telling the other person how much you believe in them.

  • Be consistent in your belief.  Express it often.  Follow up.  If the person falls down, don’t criticize – just encourage them onwards:  “I know you’ve got the ability and you’ll do better next time.”

  • Don’t stop believing.


Law #5: “Know the other person’s agenda and help them accomplish it.”


Here’s how you can become a student of others’ agendas:


  • A person’s agenda comprises their 3 to 5 most important priorities, needs & goals.

  • In your work sphere, you should distinguish between someone’s business agenda and their personal agenda – for example, completing a major project on time versus adapting to living in a new city.  Both are important to know about.

  • Think about your most important relationships, at work and at home.  List these individuals.  Do you really understand each person’s agenda?  Can you think of at least one or two things that are truly important to them?  Then ask yourself: How can I help?

  • Make it a habit to ask people about their agenda.  Understand what is going on in their world.  Here are five examples of agenda discovery questions:

  1. “How will you and your area be evaluated at the end of the year?”

  2. “What are the major goals you’re being asked to accomplish by your leadership?”

  3. “What additional capabilities do you need to put into place to support and grow your business?”

  4. “Which of your initiatives will you personally be most involved in?”

  5. “What are you working on this year that you’re most excited about?”

Law #6: “Stretch yourself by building relationships with people quite different than you.”


We are drawn toward the customer or colleague who is friendly and likes us.  It’s often the difficult person, however, from who we learn the most.


  • Review your most important relationships, both professional and personal.  Have you developed some with individuals who are quite different than you are?  Have they stretched you?  List them.  Why have they worked for you?

  • On the other hand, can you think of any relationships in which the whole is actually less than the sum of the parts?  Why is this so?  Are they “convenient” relationships that make no demands on you?

  • Based on your first list, who is or could be your own Fredrick Taylor Gates or Steve Wozniak?  List a couple of people, at work or in your personal life, whom you may not be naturally drawn to but who could push you and raise your game.

  • Examine your own hot buttons or pet peeves that you have with other people.  What sets you off?  What kinds of people “drive you crazy”?  List these qualities on a sheet of paper.  Could these be preventing you from getting to know interesting people who could enrich your life and your career – and vice versa?



Law #7: “Serious engagement needs a relationship.”


If a commitment is happening to fast, it may be built on sand and quickly collapse.  This is true of sales, but it’s also true in other spheres.


Take politics:  During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, Republican candidate John McCain chose then Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate.  He barely knew her.  He made the choice without spending any time with her.  With no relationship between them, they campaigned completely separately and presented a fragmented image for the Republican ticket.


Similarly, marriage counselors discourage short, precipitous engagements because they often see them resulting in divorce after only a few months or years.


Do you want serious engagement from someone?  Ask yourself these five questions:


  1. Have I taken the time to first build a basic relationship of trust?

  2. Do I know enough about the other person or organization and do they know enough about me for this commitment to succeed and get off on the right foot?

  3. Has the period of courtship been commensurate with the size and risk of the commitment?

  4. Have I taken shortcuts in my normal process?  For example, just because a friend recommended a job candidate doesn’t mean you should abandon your standard hiring procedures.

  5. What additional information do both sides need before I proceed?

Law #8: “Integrity isn’t important – it’s everything.”


You show integrity when you:

  • Are truthful.

  • Follow through.

  • Are consistent in your behavior.

  • Are discreet and keep confidences.

  • Uphold unchanging principles and values.

  • Always keep promises and commitments, no matter how small.

  • Walk your talk.

  • Don’t walk away from others’ breaches of integrity.


You risk losing your integrity when you:

  • Believe your goal is so important that you must do whatever it takes to accomplish it.

  • Take small, seemingly harmless shortcuts. (Small lapses in integrity can lead quickly to larger, catastrophic ones.)

  • Believe that sincerity absolves you from your lapses.

  • Hold others to a higher standard than you yourself adhere to.

  • Think “I’ll do it just this one time…” or “Others are doing it.  It’s not so bad.”

  • Believe that because you are important, busy and/or under pressure that doing something wrong is okay.

  • Cross ethical boundaries in order to remain “competitive” in the marketplace.

  • Add modifiers to your integrity (“reasonable integrity”).  Something is either right or wrong.


Law #9: “Walk in the other person’s shoes.”


Here are nine practices that will help you walk in the other person’s shoes.  Follow these and you’ll be more empathetic, winsome and engaging.  Think about the person you’re about to meet with:


  1. Picture the circumstances.  What’s happening, right now, in the other person’s life?  What pressures are they under?

  2. Reflect on what you can do to make that person comfortable or relaxed.

  3. Imagine what they’re thinking.  What’s on their mind?

  4. Imagine what they are feeling.  What emotions are they experiencing right now?  What will their mood be?

  5. Lead with thoughtful questions about both thoughts and feelings.

  6. Start with their agenda, not yours.  Don’t be so anxious to persuade and convince – to push your point of view on them as soon as you’re together.

  7. Think about how your ideas or proposals will be received.  How will the other person react?

  8. Try to help others come up with the right answer or best conclusion, as opposed to giving it to them directly.

  9. Ask yourself how pure your own motives are.  Whose best interests are you pushing?  Is there a self-interest motive that you’re pursuing?



Law #10: “Don’t be put off by an awkward start – find something personal that connects you and you may develop a wonderful relationship.


The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, is a classic story about a wonderful relationship that emerges from a bad start.  In this film, set at the beginning of World War I in German East Africa, Hepburn plays a Methodist missionary, Rose Sayer, whose village has been destroyed by the Germans.


She finds refuge with Charlie Allnut, played by Bogart, who pilots a small riverboat.  Rose is snobbish and educated and has a strong moral code.  Charlie is a hard-drinking, free-spirited, cynical boat captain who just wants to survive.  At the beginning of the movie, they argue constantly and truly can’t stand each other.  By the end, however, they have slowly come to appreciate each other’s strengths and share a mission to foil the Nazis.


In the finale, they are about to be executed by the Germans and they ask to be married before they die.  But they unexpectedly accomplish their mission of blowing up the German gunboat that has captured them and they swim together to the shore – married and now free.


Here are four steps you should follow:


  1. If you have an awkward start with someone, first ask yourself what you liked about the person.

  2. Then examine what is putting you off.  For example, does the person:

    • Display a trait you dislike?  Ask yourself why that particular quality upsets you.  It may not bother others, for example.  Are you ever guilty of the same behavior?

    • Come from a very different background from you?  If so, you may not feel at ease with the person right away, but it could be the opportunity to learn more and expand your horizons.

    • Seem uninterested in you as a person?  Sometimes we meet people and they don’t pay us enough attention, so we perceive them as snobs or just uninterested in others.  Is this a problem with your own need to be liked and noticed or with the other person?  Maybe they are just shy.

  3. Actively seek commonalities.  Ask lots of questions and eventually you’ll find a connection.

  4. If you can find common ground, you can get a person to a higher ground.





Law #11: “Give trust to get trust.”


Here are five prudent ways you can build trust in your relationships:


  1. Assess the risk of trusting.  The higher the risk, the more difficult it is to trust.  What’s holding you back?  What is the downside for you?

  2. Understand the essence of trust.  Trust is the feeling that the other person will honor your interests and meet your expectations of them.  The specific elements of trust are:

    • Competency:  You must believe the other person has the skills and experience to do the job they have promised to do.

    • Integrity:  When you have integrity in the eyes of others, it means you’re honest, reliable and consistent.

    • Agenda focus:  Before you trust someone, you want to know if they are simply focused on their own agenda or also on helping you achieve yours.

  3. Assume positive intentions in the other person.  Start by assuming the other person has positive intentions.  Otherwise a downward spiral of distrust will begin immediately.

  4. Trust but verify.  You can give trust to gain trust while also making sure that others are earning your continued trust through their actions.

  5. Build trust through behavior, not words.  When you say, “Trust me!” it makes people reach for their wallets.  Show you are trustworthy one step at a time.


Law #12: “Change the environment and you’ll deepen the relationship.”


Social scientists have actually tested this law.  They assembled two groups of couples that have been married for many years.  All of the couples had a tradition of “date night.”  Each week they would go out to their favorite restaurant or a movie together.  One group continued their practice and went to the same place each week.


The second group was told to vary their routine.  Each week, they had to choose a different location and event.  So they would go to the movies one week, a museum the next, dinner the next, and so on.  At the end of the study, the couples in the group that had varied their date-night activity reported significantly higher levels of intimacy and feelings of affection for their partner.


The lesson for you: Change the environment.  Here are some steps you can take:


  1. Get your clients into new “relationship environments.”  Invite them to a conference.  Create an offsite event.  Have them visit your company’s offices.

  2. Think about using your money to create experiences with the people closest to you rather than buying new things.  Economists who study happiness have shown that money spent on experiences makes you happier than money spent on items.

  3. Be imaginative about creating new relationship experiences.  Go on a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been before.  Or take a vacation in your home city, spending each day exploring a new aspect of it.

Law #13: “Don’t wait to let someone know how much they mean to you.”


Think about how you’d feel if someone told you how much you’ve meant to them.  Set off a chain reaction – tell others how special they’ve been for you.


  1. Make a list of individuals who have touched your life in a special way.  Start with just five names.  Who has given you love and support?  Who has been an important teacher?  Who has inspired you?

  2. Next to each name, write down why that person is important to you.  List two or three things you have learned from them.

  3. Now, go talk to each person on your list.  Take them out to lunch.  Write them a letter (not an e-mail).  Call them on the phone.  Get in touch in a personal way.  You may start out like this: “I don’t think I’ve ever said this to you, but I want you to know how important you’ve been in my life…there are a couple of really important things I’ve learned from you and I wanted to share them with you…”

  4. Finally, encourage others to do the same.  You could start that conversation by asking a colleague or friend, “Who’s been important in your life?”  And then, ask them, “Have you ever shared how you feel?”


Law #14: “There’s always something, no matter how small, that you can do to help the people around you.”


Researchers are continually searching for a scientific explanation for altruism.  Early on, humans learned to practice what scientists call reciprocal altruism.  Simply put, if you help others, they will remember it and help you.  This practice helped social groups survive harsh conditions.


Another angel to this is Hamilton’s Rule, developed by W.D. Hamilton.  It states that our willingness to help or save someone else is a function of how related we are to them.  So, you’d be more likely to rescue your drowning brother from a raging river than a second cousin or a stranger.


And finally, modern studies on happiness have shown that people feel better about their lives and are less depressed when they perform service to others.


These are interesting findings.  But in the end, nothing can fully explain the desire to help others and the special satisfaction it creates in us.  We all know, in our hearts that it’s the right thing to do.  So look for ways, big and small, to help those around you, like these three:


  1. Do small things: Open a door, help someone put their luggage up in the overhead bin, give up your seat on a subway.

  2. Every day, ask a loved one, friend or colleague: “Is there anything I can do to help you today?”

  3. Think about a bigger commitment to helping others.  What could that be for you?  What opportunities might you have to do that?

Law #15: “Treat a prospect like a client and there’s a good chance they’ll become one.”


How do you treat one of your most valued clients?  Read the following list and think about how you could also do some or all of these things for an important prospect.  Here’s what you might do for an existing client:


  1. Meet with them regularly.

  2. Bring them ideas about how to improve their business.

  3. Show them how other clients of yours are overcoming challenges similar to what they face.

  4. Share valuable market information and insights about competitors.

  5. Make introductions to other relevant people in your network.

  6. Invite them to events that your firm puts on.

  7. Invite them to social or community events.

  8. Orchestrate a visit to see another client’s operations – an organization that has implemented a solution they are considering.

  9. Ask them to participate in research you’re conducting.

  10. Invite them to speak at a conference you sponsor or participate in.

  11. Recommend them for an industry or professional award.

  12. Take an interest in their charitable or community efforts.


Why not treat a prospect this way!


Law #16: “Vulnerability is power.”


The idea of being vulnerable is anathema to many.  If you’re a man, you may feel you’re expected to be strong.  Showing vulnerability is not what you signed up for.  On the other hand, if you’re a woman, you may be consciously trying to avoid the stereotype that woman are more emotional than men.


Being vulnerable doesn’t have to mean collapsing in a heap or admitting to everyone around you that you feel inadequate.  For example, all of the following 15 actions are very appropriate and productive ways of demonstrating emotional openness and the vulnerability that can accompany it.


  1. Say you’re sorry.

  2. Admit you’re wrong.

  3. Empathize.

  4. Ask for help.

  5. Talk about how you feel – not just what you think – about an important issue.

  6. Compliment someone.

  7. Admit to a failure.

  8. Ask for advice.

  9. Use humor – joke about yourself.

  10. Share problems.

  11. Express heartfelt condolences if needed.

  12. Share personal issues as appropriate.

  13. Help someone else succeed.

  14. Be honest.

  15. Acknowledge others’ contributions.


Law #17: “To reach their fullest potential, people need both truth and love.”


There’s no magic formula for the right mixture of truth and love.  Sometimes a person needs unvarnished feedback, a tough critique of their performance and firm direction.  Sometimes they need praise, reinforcement and unconditional support.  Here are five suggestions for implementing this law:


  1. Assess your own style: Do you tend to find what’s right or wrong with other people?

  2. For many, it seems to come more naturally to catch people doing the wrong thing.  Why not, as author Ken Blanchard suggests, walk around “catching people doing the right thing?”

  3. Be thoughtful about what someone needs right now from you.  Is it truth?  Or love?  Do they want and need to understand what they are doing wrong?  Will encouragement be the best medicine right now?

  4. Spouses beware: Researchers discovered that husbands and wives feel lower marital satisfaction when one is given too much advice from a spouse, as opposed to too little.

  5. If you’re going to confront someone with a fault or something they’re doing wrong, you might first try and understand how they see it.  You could start with a very general question like, “How do you see it?” or “What do you think is going on?”


Law #18: “Make them curious.”


Curiosity is the desire to know.  There are many circumstances where it can be useful to evoke the other person’s curiosity – to get them interested in learning more.  These include sales, networking and – yes – romance.  Here are five rules for evoking curiosity:


  1. Tell people what they need to know, not everything you know.  Give brief answers to questions.  Hint at things.  Don’t lecture a prospect for 10 minutes when they ask you to describe your firm.

  2. Develop contrarian or unusual perspectives.  Be seen as someone who has refreshing points of view.

  3. Say the unexpected.  For example, at the moment when people would expect you to brag about your accomplishments, tell them how lucky you’ve been and how ignorance may have actually helped your career at a turning point.  Surprise them by attributing a good part of your success to those around you.

  4. Ask provocative questions.  When everyone else is telling your client how to do something, you should be asking why they want to do it.

  5. Tell people what you do and the results you get not every detail about how you do it.  The former is interesting, the latter can become tedious.


Law #19: “Show you care, often, by giving recognition and praise.”


What really motivates people?  Is it money?  Titles?  The answer – which is supported by extensive research – is personal recognition for doing a good job.  Here are six strategies for recognizing and praising others:


  1. Praise immediately.  The more time passes between the action and the recognition, the less impact you will have.

  2. Catch people doing right things.  Often, we look for mistakes.  Instead, try watching out for positive actions.

  3. Praise the right things.  Don’t praise a child for being a “champion” when they finished 18th in a race.  Praise them for having the motivation to enter the race in the first place and for sticking with it to finish.  Praise the wrong things, or over-praise, and your recognition becomes hollow.

  4. Be specific.  Don’t just say “Nice job!”  Describe exactly what you’re praising the other person for.

  5. Make it personal.  A handwritten note is far more powerful than an e-mail.  A face-to-face expression of praise is more memorable than someone telling you second-hand that your boss’s boss was happy with your performance.

  6. Don’t mix criticism with praise.  If you praise someone, and then follow that up with a suggestion for further improvement, you’ve just nullifies the recognition!


Law #20: “It’s better to know the right questions than to have all the answers.”


Be bolder with your questions.  Think and plan ahead.  Go to every meeting with a client or your boss with three thoughtful questions.  Turn statements into questions.  Think about using the types of questions we ask below.  Note that most are open-ended – what, why, how:


  1. Access emotions, not just analytical thought: “What are you most excited about right now?”

  2. Draw out others’ views: “What do you think?”

  3. Engage the other person in the solution: “What options are you considering?  What do you think is the best decision for you?”

  4. Focus the conversation on the right issues: “What would you like to talk about?  What’s the most important thing we should cover?”

  5. Uncover the other person’s agenda of key priorities: “What are the most important things you’ll be evaluated on this year?”

  6. Access the other person’s highest-level goals and aspirations: “Why do you want to do that?”

  7. Challenge: “Do you think that’s enough?  Is 10 percent high enough?”

  8. Help establish your own credibility: “Many of my clients are grappling with two big issues right now…What has been your reaction?”

  9. Explore who the other person is and how they became who they are: “How did you get your start?”

  10. Restart the conversation when it’s gotten off on the wrong foot: “Do you mind if we start over?”


Law #21: “A selfless motive creates powerful bonds.”


Few stories in literature so beautifully illustrate this law as O. Henry’s short story “The Gift of the Magi.”


It’s Christmas, and Jim and his wife, Della, live in a modest flat.  They have only $1.87 left.  Della’s prized possession is his gold watch, handed down to him from his grandfather and father.


Della has no money to buy her husband a Christmas present, so she cuts her long hair, sells it for $20, and buys Jim a platinum fob chain for his gold watch. 


Separately, Jim sells his beloved watch to buy Della some beautiful tortoise shell combs for her hair.  They are the same combs she has coveted in the window of an expensive shop.


Christmas day arrives.  Jim and Della discover that each has sold what they most treasured, in order to give something special to the other.  O. Henry writes, referring to their unselfish motives, “Let it be said that of all who give gifts, these two were the wisest.”


Whenever you give, test your own motives.  Remember, a selfless gift works in magical ways:


  • It can help an important charity or a nonprofit.  We give for many reasons, usually for the sheer jog of helping others.

  • You hold a light for others to see.  You become a powerful example that encourages others.

  • You can end up leaving an indelible imprint on someone’s life.

  • If you give out of pure intent – whether it’s helping a colleague at work or someone who is down and out – it shapes and polished your own character.


Law #22: “Become part of your clients’ growth and profits and they’ll never get enough of you.”


A client can replace a commodity “expert for hire” at any time – perhaps with a cheaper expert.  But a provider who is seen as supporting a client’s most essential programs is not easily replaceable.  Their cost is framed against a much larger set of benefits.  This law doesn’t just apply to client relationships.  For example, if your boss views you as directly helping her achieve her most important goals for the year, then you’ll be considered indispensable. 

Follow these five practices to be seen as part of growth and profits:


  1. Focus your proposals on what your client needs to have done, but also frame your work in terms of how it will help your client grow, innovate and be more profitable.

  2. Make sure you truly understand your client’s agenda of critical priorities and goals.  What are they trying to accomplish this year?

  3. Gain an equal understanding of your client’s personal agenda.  What is the equivalent of “growth and profits” for them on a personal level?

  4. Talk about your value with your client.  Emphasize impact, not methodology, during the sales process.

  5. Define yourself as in the business of improving your client’s condition, not just doing a project or fulfilling an order.



Law #23: “To succeed, you need a small group of people who trust you, believe in you and are committed to you – not hundreds of superficial contacts.”


Sociologist Robin Dunbar theorizes that we can each maintain around 150 stable social relationships.  This is now popularly known as “Dunbar’s number.”


But how many truly meaningful relationships does anyone really have?  The hundreds of professionals we’ve interviewed say that if you really boil it down, they’ve had perhaps 12 to 15 essential relationships in their career.


Who would be on a list of your “critical few?”  Look at the seven categories following.  Can you think of important individuals you need to deepen your relationship with?


  1. Clients and customers.  If you work in business, these are the lifeblood of your career.

  2. Catalysts.  These are the individuals who can introduce you to others and make a transaction happen.

  3. Colleagues.  Studies show that strong internal relationships provide a critical foundation for your success.

  4. Collaborators.  In your work, you may have other organizations or people that you collaborate with.

  5. Donors.  These are essential if you work in the nonprofit sector.

  6. Counselors.  Who is a mentor or advisor to you?

  7. Family and friends.



Law #24: “Enthusiasm is contagious.”


Enthusiasm cannot be overrated.  When it comes to attracting others to you and building powerful relationships, it’s your secret weapon.  Here are six ways to show and use your enthusiasm:

  1. When meeting with clients and customers.  If you’re not enthusiastic about your job, about your organization and about the product or service you represent, why would a prospect be excited?

  2. When interviewing for a job or applying for anything.  Are you knowledgeable about your prospective employer and enthusiastic about their business?  Does it show?

  3. To inspire your employees.  If you’re not excited about your organization’s mission and strategy, why would your employees be?

  4. To encourage others when they’re down.  Enthusiasm for the person and their strong qualities can help when things are dark.

  5. When you wake up in the morning.  What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?  Find something that you can be enthusiastic about and it will have a positive halo around everything you do during a day.

  6. In building your social network.  What kind of person do you like to spend time with?  A dismal complainer who criticizes others?  Or someone who is enthusiastic and charged up about life.  Enthusiasm gives you an attractive aura.


Law #25: “Build your network before you need it.”


Here are four simple but powerful steps you can take to develop your network:


  1. You cannot possibly manage your entire network of contacts in the same way.  Divide your professional network into three groups.

    • The Critical Few (15 – 20 people).

    • The Middle Few (25 to 75 people).

    • The Many (everyone else – hundreds or thousands).

  2. Create a staying-in-touch plan that’s feasible and appropriate for each group.  For example:

    • Talk to your Critical Few group two to three times a year.  Stay in close touch and invest to understand their needs.

    • Contact the Middle Few periodically.  At least once a year, use personalized communications (cards, letters, personal e-mails, phone calls, etc.).

    • Use low-labor intensive ways to stay connected with The Many – the hundreds or thousands of contacts you have.  This could include things like an article mailing, a newsletter, a blog and so on.

  3. Once or twice a year, manually scroll through your entire contact database.  Be on the lookout for names of people you ought to get in contact with.  Flag them.

  4. Always search for ways to help and encourage the people in your network.


Law #26: “Every act of generosity creates a ripple.”


Generosity has the power to move people in extraordinary ways.  Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the missionary who devoted his life to helping the sick in Africa, once said, “Do something wonderful.  People may imitate it.”  He also wrote, “Example is leadership.”  You encourage generosity through your own example.

Here are five simple ways you can create more ripples through your relationships:


  1. Call someone up – or stop and chat – with no other purpose than to ask them how they are.  Tell them you’re thinking about them and wondering how they’re doing.

  2. Let others get in front of you in a line, or in traffic.  Wave them on!

  3. Smile at the next waiter in the restaurant or clerk in a store.  Ask them how they are.  They’re probably working long hours at low pay.

  4. As you’re able, give to causes you support and to people in need.  Interestingly, research shows that Americans at lower and middle income levels give a greater percentage of their income to charity than those making over $100,000 a year. (Why do you think that is?)

  5. Ask yourself what your purpose In life is.  Why are you here?  Your answer just may encourage you to focus more on the ripple effect you can have through your relationships.



Final Thoughts:  Message from Gary Tomlinson:


I hope you enjoyed reading this book report.  It’s important to understand this book report should not take the place of you reading; “Power Relationships” by Andrew Sobel & Jerold Panas.  Their book is filled with examples told in story form.  My book report does not capture these stories.  Nor does it contain the chapter on “Overcoming 16 common relationship challenges.”  Most of these are professional challenges – for example, building more relationships with senior executives.  For those who buy their book you’ll also be able to download their free “Power Relationships Planning Guide” to help you better navigate the 26 irrefutable laws for building extraordinary relationships.  This is an incredible book that will serve you well.


Enjoy the education and wisdom contained within this book report and feel free to share it with others because the “illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”


You can engage Gary at To read his other book reports
or book reviews visit his website at

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