The Three Cs of Relationships

25 March

I was spending time with a friend who practices law last week. He is one of the best lawyers we have worked with and I hear the same from friends and business associates. I asked why he hadn’t approached one of his best friends who runs one of China’s most successful companies for work. I was surprised when he replied the difference between a mediocre and great client relationship is all about chemistry. He’s worried that the chemistry with this friend and his organization wouldn’t be good and would put his friendship at risk.

As I reflected on my own experience with clients, it made a lot of sense. Oftentimes the difference between mediocre and great work has nothing to do with the work but with the fit and strength of the relationship. Oftentimes, the clients don’t start out that way. There is an initial fit or connection of values that forms the foundation for good work but then the great work emerges as a bi-product of competency and chemistry.

This analogy of the client-service provider relationship extends more broadly to any relationship where work needs to get done. First, we do our best work with those that we connect to and yet compliment us in terms of values, experience, and skills. Once we have this foundation, then it is important to build a relationship that has a high level of trust on both the functional competency we’re meant to deliver and the emotional chemistry to share opinions and ideas freely. These three Cs of connection, competency, and chemistry are a recipe for a high performing relationship in work or life!

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