Three Key Elements of Building Relationship Complementation
Yesterday I met with a new potential agency partner (a prospective vendor entity) representative and he was walking me through their company proposal, and it reminded me of how important the complementation part of building a relationship is.
This agency organization is highly reputable, they are the best at what they do, and would no doubt add value to our organization if we were to choose them as our agency partner. But, if there is no complementation, there is no potential for a relationship, no matter how great this agency is or how great the value of being in a partnership is.
Relationships can only be established when there is complementation which means there are three key elements present (1) Credibility/Authenticity, (2) Trust, and (3) Reciprocity. It’s that simple. If these three elements are missing then the relationship will not exist.
(1) Credibility and authenticity is the first key component necessary for a relationship to begin. If the other entity (person or organization) doesn’t believe that you are what you say you are then you won’t have credibility and that will be a relationship ‘buzz-kill’. Credibility comes from being authentic and having the credentials to back up what you say you do and who you are.
(2) Trust must be built for any relationship to flourish. Trust comes from doing what you say you will do as well as saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Empathy is extremely helpful in being able to demonstrate that you “get the other person” at a bare minimum being able to understand the other person and demonstrating that, is necessary to build trust.
(3) Reciprocity is the key to any healthy relationship. With both entities gaining and flourishing, a kind of ebb and flow exists where there is equality and a balance in complementation. If one entity gets more and the other less then there is an unfairness and lack of balance that will lead to the demise of the relationship. Now having said that what I have described is for a healthy relationship. There are oftentimes entities in unhealthy relationships where the agreement is for one entity to get more than the other and both parties agree (a narcissist and a doormat for example). Sometimes those relationships last over the long run but there will not be healthy growth, particularly for the doormat that may even perish to the demise of the dominant narc.
Now let me get back to the agency I mentioned that I had met with yesterday and explain what went wrong with the proposal presentation and in fact, created a block in complementation for me.
First off the proposal stated that they would position us with a strategy that did not match our USP or value proposition (which is clearly stated on our website) and so it was clear they had not taken the time to even look at our website prior to making the proposal. This suggests a lack of empathy or an inability to have reciprocity.
Secondly, they mentioned that they could get fame for my colleague but not for me. Even an empath like me felt a tinge of emotions when I saw that. Again this damaged the trust and it left me thinking they didn’t know my role and didn’t feel I was important or good enough. Or just simply didn’t care enough to notice the details.
And finally, about 2/3 of the presentation was about them and not our company (me). Again this leaves the impression of narcissism and that they would be the big guys and we would be the little guy, “after-thought.”
Simple things you might say – what’s the big deal? Well even for me as a very giving and generous individual, I noticed these blockers and it made me disengage during the presentation. I looked down at my phone and began thinking of other ‘more important things’ until he noticed that I was not paying attention and stopped his presentation.
In the end, I told him directly what I felt and that there were some misses, but the good news is that he was very open to hearing my feedback and thanked me profusely for mentioning to him how he and his company could do better.
He proposed that I meet with the individual at their company who would be the primary, day-to-day contact to demonstrate that the relationship would be a priority and that the complementation would be built.
So, we shall see if the relationship is in fact, established but until then, time for some more reflection on both sides.
View the video on YouTube: