3 ways to evolve beyond traditional business relations

Traditional business relations are based on polarization such Buyer — Seller, Employer — Employee. The polarized dialogue takes place on deep grooves carved out by practices that are not necessarily in tune with modern ways of doing business.

In a polarized world the one side tries to provide for the maximum price possible and the other side tries to acquire that paying the minimum possible. Both sides are waging a silent war as they look out solely for their own interests and try to squeeze everything they can out of the other party. The atmosphere is one of vigilance and mistrust. And while there are benefits to this kind of approach towards business, a collaborative methodology can offer a healthier and more sustainable approach towards conducting business and living in general.

In a collaborative world, both sides are not trying to obtain the maximum profit out of the relationship. Rather they are looking at it from a shared perspective of goals and needs. Dialogue is based on mutual understanding and trust. And solutions are consequently more profound and creative. Here are three ways to get there.

  1. Trust — so hard to build, so easy to defile, trust is the key building block for a dialogic relationship. It requires both parties to step out of their comfort zones and agree on mutual goals and needs. Once this is done, the traditional war paradigm begins to crack. As buyer and seller open-up to each other, they realize that ultimately they have similar goals. They realize that laying down their weapons is a great way to encourage trust on the other party.
  2. Looking at the long run — shattering a transactional perspective requires looking at the long term benefits of a sustainable business partnership. It demands the unfaltering belief that while individual transactions may not be as profitable, the overall health and success of the business relationship in the long run will outweigh any possible transactional victory.
  3. Having a holistic approach — When using simplified models of analyzing situations such as Cost & ROI, it is easy to overlook intangible aspects that may determine the overall success of the relationship such as: satisfaction, engagement, ease of communication, and speed of decision making.

In a well oiled collaborative relationship as the transactional walls come down, the typical polarized roles give way to a same team approach. All parties are focused on the same goals and things just flow in a smoother and more conducive way towards real long term partnership and profit.