Monday, October 23, 2006


“Account management” is a principle for working with people. You “open an account” with everyone your encounter. As you build the relationship you continue to manage the account. In a church – or any public service organization – you have to manage accounts on a number of levels; with colleagues, constituents, supporters, prospects and volunteers.

When you initiate a new relationship, you usually start out with a small positive balance. This is sometimes called “the benefit of the doubt.” Your account will then fluctuate based on your exchanges. You can make more deposits through positive exchanges. You make withdrawals through negative exchanges. The goal is to manage your accounts with people so that you maintain a positive balance, making more deposits than withdrawals, and building up a larger account.

It usually takes several more deposits to equal a withdrawal. This is not fair. It’s just the way it is. You cannot make a withdrawal that exceeds your deposits without bankrupting the relationship. But provided you have made massive deposits, it is possible to survive massive withdrawals.

When you achieve a negative balance, others will close out your account. When an account is closed out on a minor withdrawal it is sometimes called “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” When an account is closed out, word gets around and you may find that others are less likely to do business with you. This is sometimes called “getting a bad reputation.”

What sorts of activities are deposits? What are withdrawals?

Deposits Withdrawals

• Doing what you say you will, when • Not following through.
you say you will.

• Communicating regularly, clearly and • Inconsistent, vague
consistently. communication.

• Making things easier for others. • Making things more difficult for others.

• Taking initiative. • Only acting when told.

• Doing a lot of listening. • Doing a lot of talking.

• Paying attention to details. • Letting details slide.

• Showing interest in others. • Being seemingly interested in only yourself.

• Maintaining a positive attitude. • Going negative.

Unfortunately, we do not receive a “statement” in the mail to tell us where our relational accounts stand. But people who get referred to as “a pain” are usually people who do not manage their accounts well, and are bankrupting their relationships. People who get referred to as “great people” are people who have very healthy account balances with lots of people. They are rich relationally.

No comments: