How to Mend a Broken Business Relationship
One of the things I love to do most is create conversations around topics that you need help with. Recently, a member of our tribe asked me, “Lisa how do mend a broken or damaged business relationship?”
Now, this is one topic that I’ve had WAY too much experience with. And honestly, it opened a floodgate of memories of every business relationship I’ve had that DID NOT end well.
You see, the first thing to remember is that a relationship is a relationship – whether the context is business or personal. And when relationships are broken or damaged, they are painful.
Pain feels like pain. Betrayal feels like betrayal. Hurt feels like hurt. The second thing to remember is we don’t just do business with businesses; we do business with people.
So, how do you go about mending broken relationships? Here are some tips and strategies I have personally used to rebuild relationships.
- Take ownership over YOUR PART in the breakdown. Now this is not always easy, so pull up your big girl and big boy pants for this step. I know many times when I felt hurt or betrayed or taken advantage of, I could not see any breakdown on my part. But, when I dug a little deeper, I realized the breakdown often was due to my LACK OF CLARITY around expectations or my needs. I might have spoken to the big points, but it was the small points where the perception was different. The big points are like the bricks stacking on top of each other when you are building a house – the big ideas. The small points like how you are going to get it done, by when dates, and expectations are the cement. I’d get so excited by the ideas that I didn’t want to get bogged down by the details. Now, I understand that GRACE and EASE for the business relationship come from the
- Ask for what you want. I used to worry that if I put together a contract with a business partner, they would think I didn’t trust them. What I have learned (and I’m going to invite you to say this with me) is “It is important and imperative that we have a clear contract because what doesn’t live in black and white, lives in gray.” And EVERY broken relationship, EVERY lawsuit I’ve ever heard of came from the gray area.
Be clear and set clear expectations. Ask for what you want now and in the future.
- Ask what’s required to regain trust on both sides? If you owned your part and realized that you broke the trust, ask,
“What do you need from me to trust this relationship again?” And if you were NOT the one that broke the trust, or initiated the damage, then say, “This is what I need from you to regain trust in this relationship.”
- Put checkpoints in place. In the beginning of a business relationship or project, put several milestone checkpoints in place. At those checkpoints, it is easier to course correct sooner, so the breakdowns are not as big. Agree on the milestones and the frequency of the checkpoints.
- Discuss how you will part ways as you are initiating the mending of the relationship. For example, set parameters like “Let’s give each other 30 days’ notice or 10-days’ notice if things are not working out for us. Have that courageous conversation. I know it sounds hard, but sometimes you have to be an adult for the sake of the relationship.
- Finally, consider bringing in a third party who is neutral and who understands the art of communication and the art of relationship management.
Please watch this episode and let me know what your biggest #AHA was. Are there relationships that you’ve wanted to mend but you didn’t know how? Please comment below and let me know how this episode served you.
Remember, this is your home. We are your tribe, and I’m your sister in prosperity and in possibility. And when I say that I believe in you and I love you. It’s because I do.