The Give and Take in Your Relationships

This week I thought I would take the blog post in a different direction.  Usually, we are focusing specifically on a technical topic and providing recommendations, solutions, theories and rants related to a topic.  I would like to take a step back from the granular technical details and talk about relationships.  Now I am not going to go and get all mushy, I want to focus on relationships in general that can be between any combination of entities and that will most likely apply to you.  This topic applies to any type of relationship whether it is between management and employees, a company and their customers/partners, coworkers, friends and family.  Enough prefacing, this week’s relations based topic is on the give and take aspect of our relationships.

Nobody likes to be involved in a relationship that is completely one sided.  “I perform, deliver, provide, pay for, etc… with no reciprocation from the other side.”  The purpose of this post is not to solve a specific problem or to get you to expect something in return for every little thing you do, but it is intended to get you to take a minute and evaluate the relationships in your life.  It is common for us to take advantage of good relationships or relationships that we have the upper hand in, just as it is common for us to complain and/or lash out in relationships where we are being taken advantage of.

Let’s look at some examples of one sided relationships in business:

  • A customer spends money for a product or solution and the delivering company falls short in delivering the promised product, solution, or service.  The customer will feel cheated and the company will lose out in future business.
  • A company continually delivers a quality product or successful solution to a customer, and an employee of the customer provides negative feedback regarding the company, solution, or service to attempt to reinforce their own value within their company.  This can be tricky because the customer is paying for the product or solution, but this creates a hostile or negative relationship which will limit future success for the customer.
  • An employee continually performs at “above and beyond” levels and never receives appreciation from their company.  The employee will feel taken advantage of and there will most likely be a negative impact to the company from losing productivity or losing the productive employee.
  • A company sells software for a vendor, and the vendor attempts to steal customers from the company.  The company will feel cheated by the vendor and do less or no business with the vendor in the future.

This list can go on and on, but by taking a look at a couple of real world examples we can see that there are winners and losers in each of these scenarios.  It is common for the immediate winners in these scenarios to become losers in the long run due to the resulting actions of the loser.  A lot of times the entity exploiting the relationship is not even aware that they are taking advantage of the other because of the immediate positive outcome of the relationship for them.

Relationships are two way streets, and it doesn’t matter if they are business or personal, they require both parties to be committed to the relationship to make them successful and long lasting.  In my career and personal life I have found that actions will always speak louder than words.  By taking the time to appreciate and contribute to the relationships you are in, it will ensure success and prosperity in the end.  At ImageSource, we take pride in treating our customers as partners, having truth and integrity with our internal and external relationships, and the value of growing and strengthening our relationships on an ongoing basis.

Take a couple of minutes out of your day and evaluate the positive and negative relationships in your life.  For the positive ones, determine if you have a successful two way relationship or if you may be taking advantage of a good thing.  For the negative ones, determine if the other party is taking advantage of you, if it is self induced, or if it is due to a lack of communication.  Sometimes both parties can be at fault and everyone is a loser.  If you do find that you are being taken advantage of, determine how best to get the other side to understand, appreciate, and reciprocate accordingly.  In the end a successful two way relationship will create winners on both sides.

-Ryan S. Keller