...not by how much was squeezed out of any one deal.”
These last few months have been like no other in recent years. As I continue to work with leaders across the corporate, small and medium business and non-profit landscape, one reality has surfaced in glaring fashion, what is the real value the business provides to its stakeholders? This blog’s title quote from Mark Cuban, the well-known entrepreneur and businessperson, speaks volumes as business leaders have several months of “ground-truth” feedback based on the real value of their business relationships.
There are three key relationships that rise to the surface as the most meaningful to achieving sustainable success for any business. They are the relationships with people, the relationships with the supply chain and the relationships with the broader community. While these relationships may overlap, for the purpose of this discussion, we will address each individually.
- Relationships with People ~ People have been impacted greatly these past few months with the unemployment rate hitting levels not seen since the great depression. Some of the impact is unavoidable due to the nature of the pandemic. However, people will remember how well, or not, they were treated by their employers and associates. This is especially true of those who cannot perform their work remotely. This is not a financial observation, but rather a respect and dignity observation. Did leaders treat the situation as just another round of layoffs or did they see, and act, as the extraordinary situation it truly is. The leaders who thought outside the box by seeing the situation as unique will be the ones at the front of the line on the other side of this new reality with lines of people wanting to be part of their brand!
- Relationships with the Supply Chain ~ The last few months proved positive the lack of business continuity in the global supply chains. It is no secret that in good times, leaders do not pay as much attention to the whole system as much as they should. It’s working, therefore it’s good to go. Business Continuity is a leader’s responsibility and the best time to stress-test the supply chain is before the damage is done. One of the key gaps is not looking beyond the direct supplier to their business or the beyond the direct recipient of the business output. Had more leaders done so, they would have recognized the soft spots in a very interconnected system and acted accordingly before chaos and negative impacts ensued!
- Relationships with Community ~ If nothing else, 9-11 and the great recession taught society the power of community relationships. In the early stages of the pandemic, stories abounded of hoarders who aimed to profit by raising prices of essential goods and services. While we might not have heard about them in the media, we also know there were many more citizens who stepped up to help their community in time of need. Like the relationships with people, communities remember those who stepped up and supported unconditionally where the communities needed the most assistance. These leaders may not be the ones who carry titles and direct authority, but rather those of many ages and walks of life who step up without asking to lead others on behalf of the community at large!
“Marketing is what you sell, branding is what they buy”. These past several months gave the world front row seats to the difference between what businesses are selling and what their stakeholders are buying based on perceived value. That perceived value will be the difference between a business being at the front of the line or whether a business even survives on the other side of this new reality!
What is the value of your business relationships and how do you know?
Lead Well and Be Safe!