Keeping Business Relationships On A Positive Track

Friday, October 15, 2010 - Permalink
Several years ago, in an interview with an executive from a packaging firm, we asked “When you think of relationships that have gone in the wrong direction, what could the customer have done to avoid the derailment?”

The answer included the following:  “Not bring in a group of competitors, give them information we weren’t getting, and then put out a request for bids.  Not get caught up in the reverse auction mindset.  Not jettison a ten-year relationship for one-tenth of one percent on price.  All three of those are examples [our firm has experienced].”

CoDestiny relationships require a two-way commitment to success, which takes work from both firms.

Tell us, why are so many business relationships adversarial instead of being focused on ‘win-win’ outcomes?”

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Aligning Implementation

Friday, October 15, 2010 - Permalink
In our research on implementation, we’ve seen over and over that successful firms think about their external relationships as part of their Get-to-Market Plans.

It’s not just avoiding clashes.  It involves ensuring that processes link correctly when they have to do so.  It involves making sure that each party to a business relationship understands their own roles and responsibilities.  It involves making sure the two firms are interacting often enough and at the right places to get ahead of problems and opportunities.  It involves making sure that discussions are focused on the future, not looking in the rear view mirror.

One of the things we’ve learned is that strong leaders of implementation projects carefully think about the impacts of their plans on their firm’s business partners, be it suppliers, distributors, or customers.  Then they bring them into the process and make sure both parties are aligned.

What are your thoughts on how firms can ensure that their strategic plans are successfully implemented?

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Investing in Business Relationships

Friday, October 15, 2010 - Permalink
In western markets, we typically observe that firms win business on the basis of a superior product or service offering or because they are the low price bidder.  Then, the best firms develop relationships with their customers and over time build a relationship advantage that leverages their product, service, or cost advantages.

In some emerging markets like China, we find the pattern is reversed.  Relationship comes first.  It’s almost as if the assumption is that if the relationship is strong, then the two firms can solve any issues that exist with respect to product, service, or price.

There is a strong lesson in this for western firms about the need to invest in business relationships.  It’s not only critical when they target new markets like China, but it’s a lesson that can apply even in the more traditional developed markets.

What can be learned from other geographic markets, firms or industries about building CoDestiny relationships?

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Send us your success story

"In CoDestiny, George and Atlee provide a template for the entire process. From mapping an industry to searching for value levers, their experience will enlighten and illustrate the foundations of their assessments. More important, the book's thoughts on relationships will aid in the execution of the plans and the realization of effective partnerships essential to success."

From the Foreward to CoDestiny. Charles A. Peters, Senior Executive Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors, Emerson, St. Louis, MO
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