Business is about relationships; that much we know. Yes, systems, strategy, and resources are also very important, but when you strip all that away and look behind the curtain, what you end up with is a human relationship. How successful we are in business is, in our opinion, directly related to our ability to manage and enhance the quality and depth of that relationship. Logic therefore dictates that those tasked with running an organisation should allocate a large percentage of their time working on relationships and trying to engineer those elusive ‘win/win’ scenarios that underpin any quality relationship we have, whether in business or in our personal lives.
As we all know, relationships can be both complex and multidimensional, but those of quality seem to have three key components present. Firstly, there is a shared vision: both parties have to see the world in a similar way and broadly agree on the outcome they want to achieve from the relationship. Secondly, there has to be a symbiotic element: both parties must not only benefit but must also acknowledge the other party’s importance in the relationship. Finally, time is allocated to regular and open dialogue: relationships by nature will change over time as circumstances do, and these changes are best aired and discussed as and when they occur to maintain the trust within the relationship.
So that’s the theory, but how do we apply this in a business setting? Simple: write a business plan or a vision statement, communicate it to those directly involved (customers, staff, and stakeholders), and then create channels and opportunities for those groups to have constructive conversations with you about your plan and vision.
In reality, the most successful business owners are those with the ability and talent to enhance and align these three key relationships so that everyone involved shares the same vision despite different perspectives and agendas. Easier said than done, I appreciate, but—in our experience—an essential task for those looking to grow a successful and profitable business.