Romeo & Juliet

By Marc Lawn, The Business GP

It is where trade started, and some, especially in the digital age, would claim, a dying art, but relationships are the key to business success. They always have been and always will. I have talked before about ‘written contracts’ being a fairly recent addition to the business world, go back in time and you will find phrases like ‘my word is my bond’ and ‘shake on it’ which emerged from the way business was done.

How do you go about building business relationships then? Is there a magical solution? Unfortunately there is not, as with all things though, practice makes perfect.

In the Dire Straits version of Romeo & Juliet a line for me sums up what a really strong business relationship feels like — ‘How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?’

Why, because its personal and it really matters, but it takes time and effort to build. I believe there are three key areas to consider.

1. Consistency — People crave consistency (some will also talk about dependability) in life, they like to know that if they, for example, pick up the phone that within a certain ‘tolerance’ the experience they get from a conversation will meet their expectations. That is why people buy branded good because they ‘know’ what they will get as a result and that is why they are so angry and annoyed when the brand fails to deliver.

2. Style — Do you understand the communication style of the people that you are trying to build a relationship with. Do they think in a visual way (i.e. do they always go…ahhh I get it, when you show them a visual of what you are describing), or are they words people. Interestingly 2/3rds of all people think visually, however people who design strategy in business generally are ‘words people’ and most words people find it difficult to translate words to pictures.

3. Relationships — The biggest thing that sets leaders, and great networkers apart from others is the fact that they understand relationships. Not in the ‘Hi Mike, How are you?’ sense, but in the, understanding interactions sense. You want to build a relationship with a key business, but rarely is the MD, or CEO the only person who needs to be considered. You need to understand complex relationships, who influences who in a business, where the ‘power’ and ‘trust’ lie. This key point is one of the biggest issues for most. Why? Well because as fast as you are building the relationship with, for example, the MD the HR director is undermining you and you didn’t even know it was happening.

So think carefully about your relationships and maybe if it all comes off well Dire Straits could come to your rescue again, “You and me babe, how about it?”, but maybe you would want to be careful how you used that line!

Marc Lawn is an experienced leader with a track record of delivering world class customer and consumer solutions on an international scale, having won three global accolades, he works with an ethical and sustainable stance. He pioneered the ‘making life easier’ management philosophy, one based on clarity, and has coined a ‘renaissance management’ theory, where senior leaders understand clearly the total context in which they operate.

As a consultant to some key blue chip businesses Marc is adding value across the globe, he is a fellow of the RSA, a recent DBA graduate and a member of the IOD. 20 years of commercial & operational experience covering 9 industries globally has provided Marc with the perfect platform for www.thebusinessgp.com. Using his experience and approach (Discuss, Diagnose & Prescribe), Marc has helped businesses of all varieties move forwards quickly and affordably. Treating causes not symptoms with immediately actionable advice.

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