Things don’t always go smoothly and sometimes we get into conflicts. We get mad at friends, family members, significant others etc. At the end of the day, most relationships stay in tact because people work things out. People apologize and people forgive each other. Even relationships that go sour (particularly ex boyfriends/girlfriends) tend to reach a level of understanding and forgiveness over time. Even if you don’t mend the relationship, people tend to reach a resolve within and eventually we let (most) things go.
The same is not the case for business relationships. If you piss someone off; they never forget it. You backstab someone; they never forget it. They may “forgive” you. But really they don’t. You fight and it can become a war. Perhaps that’s why some people think business can be real cut throat.
So why are business relationships different? I’m not sure to be honest. Perhaps it’s the interconnected nature of businesses. In the world of personal relationships, we do not gain the advantages over others by simple screwing each other over. While we can abandon the relationship, the benefit of holding the grudge is minimal for both parties. People can simply move on.
Businesses on the other hand, compete in an interconnected world. Companies will do business with other companies and if they have a fight, someone is bound to lose. Perhaps one is a client and the other is the vendor. Pissing either parties off will often mean a lose-lose for both parties. One will lose business/money and the other may lose a good supplier/vendor.
Here’s a vendor/client example. Business A and Business B are competing to win a contract for Client X. Client X decides that he can go with either supplier but the only way they would work with Business A is if the two businesses (A+B) worked together. Business B did not like how Business A did business and declined to work with them. As Client X was respecting their relationship with Business B, they were fine to work with only Business B in the end. Business A was not happy with being left out of the deal and took it quite personally.
Several years later when they would come up for a similar bid. Business A would ensure that they undercut Business B to prevent them from winning the client. Business A would make next to nothing on the deal but anything to make sure Business B didn’t get the business.
Once you make an enemy in business, they don’t forget it.
What do you think?