Since the day we were born we have all been involved in relationships. It started with our parents, and then came siblings and family. As we grew, made friends in our neighborhood and school. Along the way they all influenced us, inspired us in some way, whether it be the schoolyard bullies or the teacher took extra time with us to help develop our math skills. Eventually we discovered the opposite sex, and our view on relationships took a dramatic turn. From some learning experiences you can never go back.
Each relationship is unique, special by what defines it, and what delineates it. Relationships can encompass an hour, season, or a lifetime. Those that last an hour acquire a very different level of commitment than those that last a lifetime. But they all share one thing. For the length they last the participants share a level of common ground.
Business relationships are no different. Every hiring, every transaction, every contract, and every project, is created on common ground. Short-term relationships tend to be founded upon a simple functional reason, to make a sale or to hammer a nail.
Business relationships that go longer also tend to go deeper. Eventually it becomes less about the function and more about the people. At this point a healthy business relationship finds common ground with its partners in the ethics and values of how it does business.
When you have a client that regularly questions every invoice, that tries to find loopholes or advantages in your contracted agreement, or is regularly late in payment, you quickly surmise that a long term relationship is out of the question.
Healthy business relationships are just as much about trust and respect as a healthy marriage is about trust and respect. When one side or the other steps beyond that boundary of trust and respect it forces the other side into a retrospection of not only whether the relationship can be saved, but whether the relationship should be saved.
Healthy marriages and healthy business relationships both take time, patience, and hard work on both sides. So, are you getting along well in your relationships or do you need a little counseling?