Improve Business Performance: How to Ensure Your Business Relationships Are Good for Your Business

Are you spending time with the ‘right’ people?

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

You may have heard this quote before – but do you pay heed? Stop for a moment to think about this: it can be argued that all the most important aspects of your life – your dreams, aspirations, energy, contribution, relationships, feelings of success, health, financial situation etc. are likely to be a reflection of the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with!

With respect to your business performance, it could well be worth spending ten minutes (or an hour!) examining who your influences are and the potential impact of these relationships on your business performance.

Follow this 4 step process to make sure that the top 5 people you currently spend the most of your time with are positive for your performance in business (and of course, in life!).

1.Identify WHO your top 5 business relationships are.
In your business life, who are the top 5 people and organisations you spend time with? Brainstorm all the people and organisations you spend time with – and get creative. This includes people you see face to face, those you think about, people you email, individuals who make you feel stressed! These could be your business partner, employees, people you share office space with, clients, suppliers, mentors, competitors, even websites you spend a LOT of time on.

Once you have them all there, circle the top 5 – the key individuals you spend most of your time ‘with’.

2. What is the IMPACT of these particular relationships?
Think about the following for each of your top 5:

  • For what reason does this relationship exist? Why do you spend so much time with or thinking about this person?
  • What sorts of emotions and experiences do these people generate for you? What energy do they have? How do you feel following interactions with this person?
  • Are they inspiring and motivating? Do they generate passion and creativity?
  • Are their values aligned with yours? Or are they focused on areas that conflict with your priorities?
  • What types of conversations are you having with these people?
  • Does your work and time spent with these people help to fuel the passion you have for your work?
  • Do these individuals and businesses have attributes that you want to posses yourself? Or are they in the same place as you, reinforcing where you are currently at, rather than where you would like to be?

3. Take stock of the impact of these working relationships on your business performance.
Bearing in mind what you have come up with in step 2, and your goals and aspirations for your business and your working life, take the time now to determine whether these relationships are good for you and your business or not.

How does your current business performance reflect your top 5?

Can you see any link between the current performance of your business and those top 5 relationships?

  • Maybe you are achieving huge success and surround yourself with like-minded people who support you to push yourself.
  • Perhaps you can recognise that you have some key relationships that sap a lot of your energy, leaving you drained and unable to hold yourself to the high standards you aspire to.
  • Do you have clients who you work with out of obligation rather than true alignment?
  • Is each relationship taking you and your business to where you want to be, or merely affirming your current position? Can you recognise that you are holding yourself and your business back by continually associating with individuals and organisations who are at the same place as you are, rather than with people who have already achieved the success you aspire to. Or maybe these individuals and businesses have attributes that you want to posses yourself and by being in relationship with them you are setting yourself up for success.

Use this step to identify those relationships that are positively impacting on your business performance, but also to determine which relationships are holding you back, inhibiting your progress, or negatively impacting on your performance.

And lets be clear – not every relationship should be examined with a mindset of ‘what can I get out of this’ or ‘how could this person benefit my business’, but it is important to surround yourself with positive influences – whether that’s people who challenge you to learn and grow, mentors who inspire you to be your best, or simply people who allow you to express your creativity and passion for your work.

4. Use this knowledge to IMPROVE your business performance.
Now that you have identified where your relationships are supporting you and which ones are holding you back, take action!

What can you do to enhance those relationships that are positive for you and your business? How can you ensure you nurture those relationships and that you continue to soak up the positives.

Where there is room to step it up, get clear on what kind of people you do what to be surrounding yourself with, and to seek them out.

  • If you have specific aims or goals, which groups or individuals could you align yourself with so you can be with people who share your values and vision.
  • If you need development in a certain area, where are others in this zone congregating. Perhaps its a matter of joining a business forum, development or networking group so you can meet these like minded people.
  • AND – who do you need to distance yourself from? Perhaps you have clients who are draining your energy and sapping your passion for your work. Is it in your interests to create closure on that relationship so you can create space for clients who you feel a passion for working with. Similarly, if you are experiencing difficult or negative relationships with suppliers or even employees – what course of action could you take to get these relationships to a point where they are positive for you and your business?

If you have a strong desire to improve your business performance work through these four steps to ensure your interactions and relationships in business are not only inspirational and fulfilling, but take your business to the next level.