Must-avoid mistakes for business survival 3/5: Win/lose relationships

By Bruce McGregor

A business is like a chain, each link a relationship. When put under pressure the strength and effectiveness of those links becomes incredibly important. 2020 has magnified relational and business pressures that were previously managed routinely. It has reframed what is essential, making management more aware than ever of the need to build and maintain strong business connections.

But are our business connections as strong as we think?

Many businesses are created in a hierarchical game that involves pushing risk to others, in a network of win/lose relationships. We push risk to our partners, peers, suppliers and clients so that if the chain is tested, it is not our link that breaks. It is instead the link we have ‘delegated’ to someone else.

COVID-19 has stretched some of these relationships close to breaking point. It is vital that businesses identify and repair these weak links immediately, but they can’t stop there. Businesses need to take the time to re-examine every link in their chain and to reimagine what ‘connecting and or strengthening’ could look like with each partner, peer, supplier and client.

Win/lose is out, collaboration is in

The only way this can work is if all of us take end-to-end accountability for keeping the chain intact.  This will require creative problem solving on all fronts, so win/lose is out and collaboration is in. It is no good making unilateral decisions and imposing them.  You need to mobilise those in your supply chain to work together and understand problems and root causes, find solutions, reset priorities and commit to implementing decisions quickly – so that the right outcomes are achieved for everyone.

This means enhancing existing, or developing a brand-new set of, disciplines and behaviours around working together.  But in these uncertain times few people have got the time or space to develop these from scratch and to find out what works and what doesn’t – which is where Brooke can help.

Brooke looks beyond the ‘chain’ you are tied to, to help you imagine what a truly collaborative network would look like. Our proven techniques and the experience of our people combines the best elements of co-creation, collaboration, design thinking and problem solving and accelerates them through a facilitated service we call Shift Rapid Problem Solving lab.

Brooke :  rapid change | meaningful outcomes