I was discussing today the importance of having friendly relationships with your neighbors. You know, those folks who live next to you who can make your life miserable.

I’ve discovered a crucial philosophy to create friends rather than enemies: Lead with generosity, friendliness, and flexibility.

But what does this have to do with business? Everything!

You have many people in your business circles: employees, customers, partners, others in your industry, even the shop next door. These are all folks with whom you might want positive relationships for years to come.

The way to start is with generosity, being friendly and open.

Some might say that the purpose of this is to make others feel obligated toward you. I find that to be cynical and manipulative.

The reason you do this is because it’s the right thing to do. We all need positive relationships.

Yes, there are people who will choose to take advantage of you. They exist.

But there are far more who will respond positively, maybe even years into the future. They might even become friends.

It’s worth it.