Smoke, Fire, and Relationships


I awoke with a start the other morning to the acrid smell of smoke. After a quick search of the house, I determined that the source of the smoke was somewhere out in the East Woods. A call to the fire department followed by an hour traipsing about the woods left me stymied – I still had no idea of what was filling the environs with the thin haze.

Complicating the search was the dead calm air that gave no indication of the direction – all I needed was some idea of the relationship between my smoky yard and the source of the smoke. Like in the business world, the most critical point here is the relationship, which is the foundation of all kinds of value.

There are several areas where having a strong relationship can provide great benefits to both parties, while the inverse is, unfortunately, also quite true.

  • Sales, pricing and timing – One of the simplest indicators of the quality of a relationship is when you move to close a deal. The common objections of pricing and timing often mask the actual reasons of trust and comfort with the relationship
  • Hiring talent – When your ace candidate decides to go to your competitor, a hundred factors can be at work. But often the relationship failed to deliver the confidence and comfort she needed to come aboard.
  • Big deals – When you are looking to sell your company or buy another, getting the relationship build on solid ground is paramount. Any weakness here is likely to manifest itself in poor valuations, board room uncertainty, or walking away empty handed.

So to create better results, more value, and happier outcomes, focus on improving your important relationships. Otherwise you will be left wondering why there is smoke and no fire.

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