Often when people are dating, they find it difficult to meet the right person. They can become discouraged and may even fall into the trap of settling for an unhealthy or destructive relationship. The same thing can happen with “business dating.” When you’re exploring the potential of an investor, a client, a supplier or an employee, the goal is the same – to assess the suitability of that person as a prospective partner or colleague.
Every relationship is unique, and people come together, whether socially or in a business setting, for many different reasons. But there are characteristics that most healthy relationships have in common, such as mutual respect, trust, and honesty, that should factor into any decision to form a connection. As you assess a new match-up, consider these rules of dating:
Find someone who shares your core values. In any close relationship, finding someone who upholds the same standards is vital. It helps you avoid conflict and makes decision-making easier. You’re much more likely to have a shared vision of your future together if you care about the same things.
Invest in the relationship. No relationship will run smoothly without regular attention, and the more you invest in the other person – or organization – the more you’ll both grow. Commit to spending the time to respond, listen and plan even when you’re busy or stressed.
Communicate openly. People aren’t mind readers, so tell them how you feel. When both sides feel comfortable expressing needs, wants, and concerns, the bond grows stronger and deeper and leads to mutual benefit. Be open to difficult conversations.
Resolve conflict by fighting fair. Don’t be afraid of the inevitable conflicts that arise. The important thing is that you feel able to express the issues that bother you and that those around you also feel they can speak up. Resolve conflict without insisting on being right or leaving someone feeling humiliated.
Be open to change. All relationships change over time. What you need from a relationship at the beginning from a supplier or a colleague may be very different from what you – or they – need down the road. Accepting change in a healthy relationship should make you a better partner and …
Know when to walk away. Sometimes no matter how much you want a relationship to work or how hard you try to make things right, there are too many obstacles to overcome. If that’s the case, even if it’s a client or an employee you’d rather not lose, you may have to break up. Do it as kindly as possible – no accusations, no shouting, no slammed doors. Explain your position, allow for reaction time, and firmly maintain your position.