What Your Business Relationships Need From You Now

In an uncertain landscape, your business relationships matter more than ever. How you work with your team members, colleagues and clients during a time of crisis makes a difference in how you emerge on the other side.

David Nour, an adjunct professor at Emory University and Vanderbilt University, says there are five specific things your business relationships need from you in order to weather the coronavirus crisis. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Nour’s simple actions to lead through uncharted territory.

1. Amplify the guardrails. Back when things were normal, your employees made countless decisions in your business every day. Amid this storm of uncertainty, decision-making needs more guidance--brighter guardrails--throughout the organization, says Nour. Be crystal clear on the direction your business is headed and the destination, as well as how you'll get there together. And if you want it to be remembered, it needs to be heard seven times. Nour notes this isn’t repetition; it's reinforcement.

2. Trust, track, then get out of the way. Nour encourages leaders to provide centralized direction and guidance. He also says leaders should make decentralized decisions and actions on the frontline of where their business sees opportunities, creates value and responds to needs. According to Nour, your relationships on the ground, your team of employees, know the context of your business. They know your customers, they know how difficult the situation is and what's needed most. Empower others by relinquishing control but also providing more guidance, resources and support. Then, get out of the way.

3. Be the most authentic you. When you share emotional and personal messages of struggles and hope, challenges and opportunities, you become human as a leader in your relationships, says Nour. The people you have business relationships with, including your team, need to see who you are, what you believe, your values and what matters most to you.

4. Put people's health and safety first. If you've ever charged a hill, like launching that new blockbuster product or line of service, you know there is nothing more disheartening than to get halfway up the hill and realize no one is following you. Nour notes that it's challenging for any of your relationships to hear you, much less support you, if their family's welfare or their own is unstable. Empathy creates an emotional connection. Your emotional courage, giving yourself and others permission to feel everything, is what your relationships need, he says. Empathy is about meeting others where they are and understanding what matters to them as much as what matters to you and your business.

5. Be the lighthouse. Your role as the leader is to show your team the opportunities amid the uncertainty. And then lead them there. If you're shutting down, how can you prepare for the other side of this storm? Look for what's possible, and how you can plan for it now. If you believe in your relationships, and make sure they feel your belief, it's amazing what walls they'll break through to make sure they never let you down.

Your relationships, both inside your organization and outside of it, are a source of differentiation. When you nurture bonds with your team members and clients during times of uncertainty, you’ll make those relationships dramatically stronger in the long run.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: David Nour is author of 10 books and an adjunct professor at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Management. Nour was named to the Global Gurus Top 30 Leadership Professionals list and is one of Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Global Coaches. 

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