By Yinka Olugbodi

This week we are back in IITA, Ibadan, facilitating Dufil Mgt. and Staff Retreat. IITA(International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) is a huge facility and a diplomatic zone with infrastructures built 50 years ago but all in excellent conditions and well maintained. It is one of the most beautiful real estates in Nigeria. This was where had its first team building retreat for Access Bank, South West Region 10 years. And one of our favourite team building destinations ever since.

But the crust of the story is not about the beauty and tranquillity of IITA. It is the power of relationship in business especially start up ventures. The success of any business endeavour depends largely on the strength of your relationship. The first place to source your potential customers is within the circle of networks of relationships you have.

A week after launching 10 years ago, the first marketing plan was to reach out to the network of relationships I have built within my immediate previous employer-Access Bank. And one of personalities was the General Manager (Southwest) based in Ibadan back then. I booked an appointment and travelled to Ibadan to meet him. I introduced my new venture to him and he was quite encouraging. He then disclosed that the Southwest team are actually planning a retreat at IITA the following weekend but they do not have a budget team building. I told him to let me know what they can afford to pay and they should take care feeding and accommodation for my team. We agreed and both committed to the agreement. The fee we agreed to was actually enough to cover travel cost and nothing more. But deep down I was excited because this was the first official engagement of and great opportunity to also train and show my team of young graduates(mostly corpers) that have never witnessed a team building event before!

This is the morale of the story. The Access Bank, Southwest program was a seed for all other programs that followed from Access Bank. The program opened us up to all the other former senior colleagues and teams in the huge bank. Moreover other colleagues that has moved on to other companies and banks also got to know about this one program. The height of this relationship culminated in engaged to facilitate part of the huge integration process when Access Bank acquired former Intercontinental Bank(that is a story for another day).

There is power in a well cultivated relationship. Build and maintain it. Build and maintain relationships. Do not bridges especially positive relationships


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