Let’s have an honest conversation about relationships and why they matter. By the way, I am not talking about the fake one’s; you know, those ones over Facebook where you accept a friend request from someone you don’t know and next minute you are liking each-others posts. Relationships are the corner stone of both the business and personal world and if you don’t get the fundamentals right then it won’t be long before it all ends up like custard.
That’s why it is better to consider what is meant by a meaningful relationship because in order for something to work properly it needs to be purposeful, it needs to have intent and it needs to be two way. For the latter most relationships fail because they were never two way. I like to talk about the importance of mutual benefit exchange in all things and it is also true of establishing a meaningful relationship with someone; in other words there needs to be a measure of equal value (or sometimes close enough) for each party.
So let’s explore the three things you need to make sure you have in order for a relationship to work in the business world:
#1 It needs to be purposeful
There is no point in going into a relationship unless there is a common purpose or goal to strive towards. In actual thing the great part of a successful relationship between business partners is each of you can help the other reach the goal or purpose a lot faster than if you were attempting to do it alone. The question you need to ask yourselves up front is very much about what the actual goal or purpose is before mapping out how you intend to get there.
"If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together" African proverb
The goals can be either aspirational or opportune in nature and have either a fixed or ongoing deadline. Like any successful relationship it’s always good to step back and take regular stock of where things are at. If there is no or little purpose then you may find yourselves wasting valuable time so never be afraid to move on and strike up a mutually beneficial relationship with someone else. In other words don’t let wasted time be a killer of what you need to do to get done.
#2 It needs to have intent
Now that the purpose has been set you need to show and have intent to reach the goal. Another key factor in the failure of relationships is that while you might agree on a common purpose one of you might resource it properly while the other doesn’t. For successful relationships to work each party needs to pull their weight, resource their end of the bargain and be willing to work on it. The moment one party provides more support to something than the other comes the realisation that there is a power in-balance in the relationship. So, follow through is fundamental, as is resourcing your end of the bargain and remaining committed to the purpose through action.
#3 The art of the mutual benefit exchange
Unfortunately most relationships reach the point of failure because one party is benefiting more than the other. Mutual benefit exchange is not always both parties getting the same amount of exact value out of something but it sure is each party getting what they expected to get. In other words each party should win. This is why it is also so important to set the expectation up front when it comes to what the benefits will be, how they will be distributed and when. Over set the expectation and you will always be disappointed.
So, forming a strategic relationship can be highly successful if you follow the three steps to getting it right. Then it all comes down to managing the relationship towards success and that’s something that I’ll be covering in an upcoming article at www.entrehub.org
About Matthew Tukaki: Matthew Tukaki is the founder and CEO of EntreHub.org, the fastest growing online news channel for small business, entrepreneurs and start-ups. He is formerly the Head of one of the world’s largest and oldest employment companies, Drake International, and is currently the Chair of the social investment business Sustain Group and the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention in Australia. You can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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