Alumni Chronicles: It’s all About Building Relationships

June 10, 2015
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By Eric Atkins

ERIC ATKINSAs the career development manager for Brasfield & Gorrie, one of the largest privately-held general contractor/construction firms in the nation, I oversee the company’s Learning & Professional Development program. In that role, I am responsible for training development and delivery.

Our company’s mission is focused on strengthening relationships by honoring commitments, exceeding expectations, and living our values every day.  At our company, we stress that we build more than exceptional buildings, we build relationships. As a result, we are frequently recognized for excellence in our industry and we continually try to identify areas for improvement. What we learned was that we needed help with promoting employee engagement.

I initially learned about Dale Carnegie Training through my boss, who is also a graduate of the program. When I signed up to take the course, I wasn’t sure about what to expect. I was actually “blown away” by the experience! It was powerful and nothing like I had ever experienced before.

Our class was comprised of a very diverse group of individuals from various backgrounds and businesses. I can still remember many of the stories that we shared with each other. It was amazing to watch everyone grow week after week. I was definitely impacted by the participants, as well as the trainers.

The Dale Carnegie program has dramatically improved my professional life by helping me to become a more skilled and intentional leader. I have become a better listener and am earning the trust of staff. In addition, I have allowed myself to be approachable. Above all, I realized it’s not just about being open and honest with the people around you, but being open and honest with yourself.

When I was asked about what out of the 30 Dale Carnegie human relations principles has made the most difference in my life, it’s: “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.” I believe this to be the best opportunity to engage employees and ultimately build better and more meaningful relationships.

I intend to continue the journey I started with Dale Carnegie Training. Just like anything else worthwhile, I believe that it is one that should never end.

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