MBA's and consultants drive buzz words...Relationship Management is one the most quoted word I have come across. Be it Customer or supplier end there is always something to improve in relationships. Extended enterprise is surely going to be the future as it is not how a company or brand works individually that can define competitiveness but more how collectively we are able to win in the market.
While all this is a fact I have to mention that in new economies be it China, India, Brazil or Mexico companies have to manage the relationships within their organization to drive up the performance. Especially when we have so many opportunities in the market and there is always a constant attrition of people who have adapted to the culture and politics of a company there is a need to keep a watch on how relationships evolve. Politics by the way is not a bad word. Manipulative politics is surely is. Ultimately with every function trying to jockey for power when there is limited resources politics is inevitable. Relationships at middle management is crucial to ensure this politics does not take a destructive conflict mode. Senior leaders should ensure that this does not go out of control. Sometimes we see that HR tries to make simple 360 degrees to find improvement opportunities of individuals. However this does not clearly capture the dynamic situation of relationships which spills either positive energies to people down the line or negative energies making people seriously start to look for other jobs.
I also see people try to resolve conflicts by creating a more clear roles and responsibilities, have workshops to explain it etc. It is true that clarity helps but if relationships are good there is much lesser discussions on roles. A positive conflict is always good but if it becomes a pattern with a shell formed between dependent functions then we see performance going down. My take is pay attention to relationships..there is a business context to it. A strong people person also maintains a strong network of relationships which can be leaned on. Less critical the person is more stronger the network is and more happy people reporting to the person are. They are able to use the halo effect positively and success fetches more success.
- ► 2009 (34)