I don’t think anyone is more inherently skeptical than business owners. You could write a doctorate paper on why, but in reflection, I think it is because they have been told and sold so many things that did not come true by customers, vendors and employees. To not be skeptical would be insanity.
So what does it take to earn the trust and respect of business owners? Over the years, I have found that the three criteria I apply to others are the same standards that I hold myself to as well. They are seemingly simple, but in reality I could write forever about them. It boils down to three principles:
1. Transparent and Truthful
This value calls us to humbly stand before people and tell them the unvarnished, unadulterated and often unpleasant truth about ourselves. I know no better antidote to pride. Without this foundation, the relationship is bound to never be healthy.
This means I truly understand what the other person needs (and vice versa) and I will give my best effort to make sure I can meet those needs. We are on the same page with the exact same goals and expectations. Furthermore, since we have decided to be transparent and truthful, we will make the necessary adjustments on our journey.
3. All In
I have had relationships that excelled at the first two only to be submarined by the other person not being all in. Life takes work and time and if you are not all in for the long haul, the chance of a successful, long-term productive relationship is slim. That really hurts! Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never, never give up.” Seek those who won’t quit and avoid those who do.
I have been truly blessed with business relationships that have lasted more than 30 years. I believe the reason is that we share the same values and stand by the three principles above. If things are working out, then test the principles to see if they are part of the success. The motto “Two are better than one . . .” is more than a saying at Triune.