October 16, 2009

It’s just business

Posted in Business, Life tagged , , , , , , , at 12:03 am by lindaslongview

I received a personal note from a friend who attended graduate school with me.  She commented on the topic of my blog post Incongruence, noting that in her professional life in a foreign country, she finds little congruent or predictable yet she finds success.  In fact, she specifically said that she has had to “adapt from my sort of square, orderly, American way of thinking and doing things (so I have been told) to the go-with-the-flow / be-ready-to-switch-gears-next-week way of doing things in the foreign environment.  To my surprise, both methods can lead to successful ventures.

I am glad she wrote because it offers me an opportunity to clarify my mixed message observation.  I described the incongruence of mixed messages through the generalization of the broad communication problem of not everyone having the same priorities.  However, in the specific example I cited, although the small biotech’s message was mixed (incongruent), it was really their failure to communicate that I found disagreeable.

I agree with my friend that being nimble and adaptable are important business success factors because all businesses arebusiness_briefcase subject to shifting priorities due to changing environments and new information. What I challenge is the extension to the person.  Once a personal relationship has been forged in the name of business, a commitment to get back to someone is never relieved by a changing business landscape.  The message might change and/or an assistant might deliver it, but a commitment to communicate persists once a relationship exists because it is the relationship that carries trust, credibility, and honor.

It might seem easier to dismiss and excuse, “its just business,” rather than take responsibility to communicate when inconvenient, when the message will be difficult, or when anonymous (no one is looking). Yet the long view position requires that we dignify human interactions with the minimalist “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Done consistently, cumulative nurturing of personal respect cultivates and amplifies trust, loyalty, credibility, and honor (long view attributes).  This is part of congruence.

Do you communicate consistently in your business relationships?

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