Building Trusted Relationships

From suppliers to lenders, why you need to build Win-Win relationships.

The legendary business author Stephen Covey talks about the concept of win-win or no deal. Simply stated, if we can't enter a relationship where we both win, then it's no deal. This is a crucial practice in the world of agriculture where our relationships and trust are so important.

You may say, "That is what I always do, make the win-win deal." At first glance it may look like the approach we take in our business dealings, be it with landlords, employees, machinery dealers, etc. But so often we are caught up in short term thinking and the desire to win that we end up losing in the long run. 

Agriculture is more integrated now than ever. Access to long term, trusted relationships with people having the expertise we need is becoming a competitive advantage. So if that's true, how do we undermine ourselves?

In a relationship with a supplier we may feel that in order to "win" we must work the deal to such an extent that the supplier feels they have "lost" even if they won the business. It would be a short term win for us but this type of win-lose erodes the relationship, keeping us from moving into a trusted business relationship. 

Sometimes we feel we have to deal with landlords in a "lose-win" relationship. We have to lose something in order for the landlord to win. To build a long term successful farm you need to focus on understanding how both sides can win in every deal - or there's no deal.

Without me winning, I won't be here to farm. Without you winning too, you won't be in business as my supplier. Besides the obvious business success, win-win relationships are just a lot more fun.      

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