Business Relationships: Friendship and Fulfillment
By Val Price, Business Development Representative with Nexus 5 Group
One of the fringe benefits of cultivating and maintaining productive and meaningful business relationships is that they can evolve into genuine personal friendships.
Business relationships can turn into long-term—or even lifetime—friendships. And it is obvious that being friends with someone is more than being just an employee, or customer, or business associate. With friendship comes trust, fun, and lots more.
Human beings are social animals, and we have a genuine need for friendship and companionship. Every one of us is happier and more fulfilled in the context of meaningful and durable friendships.
Buillding Blocks for Friendships
The building blocks for friendships are almost identical to those of purely business relationships, so it is not surprising that many relationships that start off in the conference room can end up on joint family vacations!
One of my best friends, and God Mother to my oldest son, I met over 30-years ago at my first job out of college. We live over five hundred miles apart and have gone years between visits, but our bond remains strong. No matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, we pick up right where we left off. Two peas in a pod.
The proverb ‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy’ first appeared in print in 1659, but it applies to modern life more than ever. With modern urban and suburban living that isolates us from our neighbors, TV and internet that draws us away from church groups, charities, and community, we are more isolated than ever. Isolation leads to loneliness, sadness, and depression. Often our business relationships are the only connections we have to other people outside of our immediate family.
Blending Business and Personal Relationships
If you can grow your business relationships into genuine personal friendships, you will dramatically increase your effectiveness at work and your happiness and fulfillment outside of work. Happy people are, well, happier. And that leads to increased productivity, positivity, and an increased ability to form new business and personal relationships.
One way you can tell when you have crossed the chasm into a personal relationship is how responsive people are when you can’t really expect them to be! Those 5 am calls to the maintenance team about the frozen pipes in Unit 37-A don’t have to be picked up. They could wait until business hours to respond, but when you have a personal relationship, they pick up the phone and respond. (Thanks, Rod, you really saved the day!)
Not every business relationship can blossom into a personal relationship. Sometimes there are rules that keep purchasing people and salespeople at arm’s length. At other times people don’t share the common interest or are not at the same stage in life, which makes it difficult to form lasting personal friendships. But that doesn't mean you should not welcome the opportunity to take your business relationships to the next level – it will only increase your effectiveness, your happiness, and your level of personal performance and fulfillment!