Authored By: Mikel J. Harry, Ph.D.
Just like with big business, in small business we seek to build value-centric relationships. In many cases, the nature of that business is often time-sensitive, yet the transaction must move forward in a rapid way to capture the mutual opportunity. This is especially true for small businesses.
For example, a small company of say 200 employees might need to be quickly trained in a new way of doing something in order to capture an unexpected customer opportunity. To make this happen, the small company must quickly retain a local consultant to deliver the training. At the same time, the consultant must move with due haste to seize the prospective business.
In such cases, the relationship is quickly established and the bare essentials of business are informally agreed to (by way of email, phone conferences or personal meetings). When this happens, its not uncommon for the work to begin before all of the formal agreements can be prepared, approved and signed (by all of the involved parties).
Where our training example is concerned, the classroom activities begin before the contract is finalized. Naturally, during the course of such an administrative lag, unforeseen operational issues can arise. To successfully bridge the gaps, mutual trust is key.
Even when boiler-plate agreements are used to accelerate the process, the standard terms and conditions often cannot anticipate all the “twists and turns” of an emerging business environment. So, what can be used as fall back position until the formal agreements can be put into place?
To span the gaps, this author has successfully used a set of guidelines that all parties agree to at the onset of a business relationship. This set of guidelines describes the mission and core values that we naturally seek to live and work by. Simply stated, the guidelines are referred to as the 7 Golden Rules of Success.
Golden Rule 1: Quality is the Glue.
What brought us together should keep us together. Ethical practices and quality action in all our transactions, communications, and personal relationships will prevail above all else – “our word is our bond and determines our reputation.”
Golden Rule 2: Respect is the Motto.
At no time will we financially, legally, professionally, administratively, politically or socially commit another party to anything, for any reason, without; 1) a priori discussion between both parties, 2) by the mutual agreement of both parties, and 3) the written approval of both parties.
Golden Rule 3: Think Before Acting.
Our ever present question is: “Could the decision and/or action we are contemplating have a negative or unwanted impact on the aims, goals, plans, or efforts of another party.” If the answer to this question is anything other than “absolutely not,” then it should be incumbent upon the person(s) making the decision or taking action to first check with the other party and seek their approval.
Golden Rule 4: Treat it as Your Own.
We will be diligent to safeguarding the intellectual property, confidential knowledge, product secrets and sensitive data of the other party – as if it was our own.
Golden Rule 5: Speak with a Straight Tongue.
At no time will we withhold information or data with the intent of misleading or misdirecting some aspect of an association with another party.
Golden Rule 6: Keep All Cards on the Table.
We will strive to always make full disclosure and ensure the integrity of our communications, as well as its timeliness and quality.”
Golden Rule 7: Leave with a Smile.
If we cannot reconcile our differences, we should shake hands; remain friends, and part ways without prejudice to the other party.
When these seven rules are adhered to in both spirit and intent, all of the involved parties have the “stop gap confidence” needed to continuing rolling forward while the administrative necessities are being fulfilled. In this way, the quality of business can be better assured.
Business Phone: 480.515.0890
Business Email: Mikel.Harry@SS-MI.com
Copyright 2013 Dr. Mikel J. Harry, Ltd.