The importance of building relationships with people

Today, I spent about 6 hours with a supplier reviewing the status of a new seat that they are developing for us.  We were there specifically to review functionality and reliability improvements.

We had some intense, tough conversations as we picked apart their design.  But the meeting really went very well.

In my opinion, here’s why we were able to have candid and heated discussions:

Last night, we all went out to dinner together.  We spent several hours just getting to know each other over a really good steak dinner.  There was some light work-related conversation, but mostly we talked about our families, hobbies, etc… 

This accomplished two things.  First, we were able to get right to business this morning.  And second, we were able to talk candidly with each other as friends. 

I sincerely believe that if we hadn’t spend last night building up the personal relationships, today could have been really ugly.  Some of the things that were said would have been taken personally and feelings would have been hurt. 

Instead we all emerged as friends, and we’re going to have a better product as a result.

Do you have any similar experiences to share?  Or an opposite experience? Please leave a comment.

(Sidenote – I highly recommend Mackenzie’s Chophouse in Colorado Springs.  I had a dry aged prime NY strip that was to die for.)

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