Almost everything in business relations comes down to two tensions: building relationships, and getting results. If you focus too much on building relationships, you tend to avoid conflict and don’t achieve objectives. If you focus too much on getting results, relationships suffer and you don’t get long-term results (since people will be cautious with you).
Of course, you have to know when to focus a bit more on relationships and a bit more on results.
For instance, I’m working with a product manufacturer now for one of my sites (http://www.momsonedge.com). The manufacturer has — 2 days before delivery of product — insisted on a price increase. He claims that the product was harder to make than he thought, despite months of comments by me and a contract.
At the same time, he has delivered some good product and has been good to work with.
So I’m pushing a bit on the “results” side now, telling him that his request is inappropriate, and why, and threatening to go to another vendor with more competitive pricing if he continues to insist on higher prices.
This constant balancing of results and relationships comes up in sales, project management, negotiations — really any kind of business relationship.
I hope you manage the balance correctly!
In my experience, a lot of technical people tend to avoid conflict, or even run from it. So they have inauthentic relationships, and don’t push enough to get the results they want.