All of my successes in business have been delivered on the back of strong relationships. And, similarly, most of my failures can be traced to an absence of effective relationships with the key stakeholders.

Last week the IOC selected Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Unsurprisingly, some US commentators have criticised President Obama, arguing that he helped Chicago lose the race.

However, attracting the Olympic Games to Chicago was a relatively small item on Obama’s agenda, which also includes healthcare reform, Afghanistan, Iran and global economic and fiscal recovery!

For President Da Silva of Brazil, Rio’s bid was far higher up the list of priorities.

This meant that, over the past two years, he was able to dedicate himself to visibly leading Rio’s efforts and, importantly, building the personal relationships that are vital in all political efforts – whether that involves international diplomacy or simply persuading a front-line colleague to work an extra hour’s overtime.

As Da Silva said, “I didn’t knock down President Obama. I was not running against him. The US maybe didn’t dedicate themselves as we did.”

The dedication required to nurture and develop the relationships that secure support for your ideas and initiatives can, very simply, mean the difference between success and failure.

© Stuart Cross 2009. All rights reserved.