Mastering the Art of Workplace Relationship

November 6, 2018

Art of Rebuilding Relationship at Workplace

Managing Workplace Relationship

Building the bridge: “Networking is all about farming and not about hunting”. It’s about cultivating workplace relationships. Imagine you are in a desert on a hot, sunny day with nothing but miles of sand around you. Now someone has given you the task to make a sand castle there. Do you think it will hold form or shape without water? Now imagine you are at a beach spending an evening by the sea with miles and miles of water to help you build the sand castle, would it now hold form and shape?

A business relationship is like building that sand castle. Creating a relationship or a bond with a client is like the water that holds the sand castle together. As one moulds and kneads the sand to create the sand castle, one needs to work on creating a bond built on trust, faith and confidence with a client too. Entrepreneurs especially women can be great at building and maintaining relationships since nurturing is an inbuilt trait in them. However, it is more than just a trait that helps manage relationships. I had to learn this the hard way though! One thing an entrepreneur never learns in a college or at an MBA course is how to deal with a rather unhappy client or stride through a deal that has gone bad. An incident during my early years of running business made me realise how important it is to create a strong bond with a client.

My experience with Workplace Relationship

Let me take this opportunity to share this learning with you all. A well-wisher connected me to an esteemed client who owns a soft skill training center. I was awarded the opportunity to design and consult for their training center based on the confidence of the well-wisher in me. All went off well and they were impressed with my skill, knowledge and design approach. I had nailed it and successfully completed my first corporate project as a business person. I was proud of my achievement. 

But when life is determined to help you learn a lesson, any moment of happiness is bound to be short-lived. Don’t you agree? The second project with the same client was another training center within a corporate building. The brief was to create a fully functional set up with a space to seat at least 25 to 30 students in a classroom size of 200sft. It was to have a teacher’s table for demonstration, a projector and a blackboard like a typical training school for providing instructions. It had to be colourful, vibrant with an inbuilt toilet, pantry to serve tea and coffee. With this brief, I went about gaining measurements of the premise and planning the layout as per the requirement. 

Mistakes I did while building Workplace Relationship

The first error I made was while placing the furniture in the layout. The sizes of the planned furniture didn’t fit into the actual space. This was brought to the notice of the client by their vendor. That is when things started going south. Wrong site measurement led to wrong furniture sizes planned and this error happened in almost all sections including the toilet interior. My lack of knowledge in technical aspects led to my inability to provide solutions to the plumber or electrician for any problems they were facing. Every day became a challenge with some issue and neither of us being able to amicably come to a solution. 

The project which I had to complete in 30 days had gone on beyond. Tired, frustrated, upset the client one morning decided it was time to take charge and stop this delay. I remember that morning; it had led to a large disagreement, argument and which led to the termination of my contract with them. I was shattered and upset that it had to end like this. Worried if they would pay me for the work I had done so far and scared to ask for it too.

Learnings from this incident 

Fact: “open your mind, open your heart, take the first step for each step teaches us something new, for the sun never sets, it only rises somewhere in the world.”

For a new business, any such upset isn’t pleasant especially when we look forward to gaining recommendations from those clients to grow our business. This well-wisher then guided me to do nothing to pursue this client but subtly keep in touch with the customer through season’s greetings or similar connects. No phone calls or emails etc. 

Left with not much option, I did exactly as he guided me. After two years of this approach, one morning I got a call from the same client’s office inviting me down to work with them once again. The one reason the client says she called me back, was I had not held onto the bitterness and kept in touch. With that one statement she melted all the awkwardness that would have otherwise been there. The lesson was learnt!

Whether someone brings business to you or not they can always be someone who can recommend you to their contacts. They can be a guarantor to your customers, or friends who shows you the right path when you are distressed. So keeping in touch with them, maintaining a bond and building the bridge is the greatest key to being successful in business amongst other things. This is the key that is helping me keep my business growing. Start building your bridge the journey is long ahead and it needs to be a steady one if you are keen on succeeding. CHEERS TO “BUILDING THE BRIDGE” Join me and find your HIGH, it is worth it.

About Author

Suma Menon

Suma Menon

Founder of Shrishti Interior Designer & Consultants

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