David Nour on Ten Signs of Weak Business Relationships

David Nour
David Nour

I’m always fascinated by the conversations I have with prospective clients about their business relationships, right after I hear comments like “we have a fantastic culture,” or “we have an amazing relationship with our clients!”

My first reaction is to simply ask them “how do you know?” To which their response is often formulaic or textbook corporate-speak at best: “because they keep showing up for work,” or “because they keep buying from us!” Most of these answers are flawed at best, dangerous at worst if you’re not focused on asking the right questions.

So, in this 34th episode, I thought I’d share ten observations as definitive signs that your business relationships are not strategic, they’re not worthy of co-creation, and won’t be curve benders in your future. In short, they’re weak!

  1. Relationship Breadth + Depth (declining/non-existent)
  2. Investable Assets – Joint Investments: research, unique products/services, value-chain improvements/enhancements, explorations
  3. Complacency Decay – Year-After-Year, Same-Old-Same-Old, Cash Cows!
  4. Disengaged – No outreach, calls/emails not returned, indifferent
  5. Relationship Bow Tie vs. Shoe Laces – Key exec leaves, changes you’re unaware of/surprised by, executive addition insights
  6. Zero Foresights – No joint planning, a feedback loop mechanism, aspirations, M&A activities + interests
  7. Defensive Cuts vs. Offensive Investments – transactional vendors vs. strategic thought partners
  8. Crisis Relationship – fire extinguisher vs. fire sprinklers vs. a fire alarm vs. fire prevention.
  9. Relationship Assets + Liabilities – How’s your professional net worth? Do people defend you?
  10. Mutual Learning + Growth – Genuinely feel better off bc you’re in a relationship together, learn and grow together, work through the pains to come out stronger together?

Come join us in the Curve Benders thread within our private online community, the Nour Forum for a deeper discussion on these topics.



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