Everyone agrees that relationships are important to success. The challenge lies in operating a business based on building successful, effective relationships. It’s pretty easy to view our individual relationships, and consider how to nurture them and understand how and why they impact our success. When we take it to a broader scale, it requires more commitment. Look at what needs attention when we decide to run our business in the context of relationships:
- Who’s relationships are we talking about? The executives’ and their contacts? Yes. The sales force contacts? Yes. Suppliers? Yes. Inside the company? Yes.
- How good really is the average person in managing relationships? Where do they get the skills and understanding of the factors that influence how relationships work? How do they actually incorporate those behaviors that feed effective, successful relationships?
- How to develop management practices that attract and keep relationship-oriented people (as contrasted with a transaction orientation)?
- How different does leadership need to be to engender business based upon effective relationships? Are reviews done differently? Strategies? Tactics? Internal interactions? Compensation?
Hmm, it’s not as simple as it appears to run a business that operates on building and nurturing relationships — even though we know it’s very important to our success. As we come to understand the implications, we realize the complexity of our commitment. It’s one thing to understand what needs to be done. Actually knowing how to do it is where we get lost.
- From the top down learn the ins and outs of relationships and what makes them work. This isn’t psycho-babble, it’s more about understanding the mechanics of interactions.
- Immediately have the salesforce learn and integrate these skills and tools.
- Lead and manage the sales force as they identify, develop, and nurture those relationships that have the greatest impact on business.
- Next, consider the internal people — good relationships internally are the grease that makes the operation run smoothly. More energy spent on the work, less spent on getting along.
- Okay, now we’ve got all the key players, including us, operating in a relationship-oriented manner. Now we can realize the success of knowing how relationships make such a difference.
Transitioning an organization to focus on relationships is manageable. Albeit, we need to get the tools and learning. But we need to walk the talk — if we believe relationships are important to our business, we’d be foolish not to take action.