PwC and the Academy Awards.
I’m delighted to see that my old employer PwC has been retained by the Academy Awards. PwC’s competitors will undoubtedly have been knocking down doors of the relevant people since the Oscars night. Looking to be the firm to replace PwC. It was a moment of inadvertent adversity that undoubtedly tested the strength of the relationship. However, the announcement by the Academy Awards to retain PwC speaks volumes for the ability of a very strong business relationship to overcome any challenge.
And it’s a great reminder of just how important is to invest in business relationships.
I remember coming across research on why companies buy from service providers. In ascending order of importance, they are:
1. Relationship, compatibility and fit.
2. Understanding my priorities, my company’s priorities and my industry.
3. Internal chemistry and consistency of the service provider’s team.
4. Approach to delivering the work.
This research so often rung true in my Professional Services days. And I see it again with Inspo.
Interestingly, the importance of relationships emerges just as frequently in career coaching sessions. Once an individual has decided what their preferred career route is, next steps are discussed. More often than not, an action includes speaking to someone they know. For advice, an introduction to someone else, to raise an idea etc.
It’s clear that solid relationships transcend all aspects of working life. I believe the following three elements are key to a strong business relationship:
The ability to be yourself is something people value so much. It sounds basic. But it can be easier said than done. However, it allows ‘compatibility’ and ‘fit’ to emerge. And more importantly, it creates trust in another. This is the backbone to a lasting relationship.
Adhere to the ‘balanced scale principle’:
A key attribute to a sustainable relationship is the extent to which both parties contribute. Giving too much creates too heavy a burden. Taking too much can lead to the other person questioning the value of the relationship. The key is to ensure that you always give and take in equal measure.
Want the other to succeed:
There must be a genuine interest in what the other party is trying to achieve. This happens easiest when you have a personal interest in what the other person does. Lasting relationships thrive on two parties really wanting to help each other. Goals become intertwined. A union of common interest is formed. Like the PwC and the Academy Awards example shows, this becomes almost impossible to break.
A person whom I learned much from on the value of relationships in business would always make time on Friday afternoon to create a list of the people she would like to reach out to the following week.
It’s a good exercise to try if you’ve half an hour to spare this afternoon.