“Client Is King”. An expression believed to be true by so many. Well I am afraid it cannot be true. It is simply not possible to satisfy all the demanding needs of a client. Especially clients with an attitude of a Tiran. Clients can destroy your company. Wouldn’t it be better to say “The Relation With A Client Is King”? That means a situation where both client and supplier get better. Otherwise the relation has no long term future. Relation is the key word. It is the relation between the client and supplier that is king. Not the client, nor the supplier. Our society is built out of people organized in companies, associations, foundations, you name it. Between people there are relations or not. Good relations or bad relations. Since the birth of social media we have been talking more and more about relations than ever before. Networking is another of these buzzword. It means adding relations or connections as they are commonly called in social media.
Networks can be composed of humans and their relations. We can also look at networks from a more generic viewpoint. Then we talk about nodes and links.
Well there are simply more and more links once you have 4 or more nodes. A fully interlinked network, also called a fully meshed network, with N nodes has N(N-1)/2 links. Hence 3 nodes have three links to interconnect them fully. Add one more node and you have already 6 links interconnecting all nodes. That grows faster than the number of nodes. It grows at the speed of N square. This is called Metcalfe’s law.
In the telecommunication industry the links are what makes the communications go tele, distant. If we would look at a balance sheet of a classic phone company we see that around 50% to 60% of the asset value is in the links. For nodes you would find only 25% to 35% asset value.
In a marriage the link defines the marriage, not the nodes.
I can make a long list of examples of the importance of the link between the nodes.
How do you manage a link? And who manages it? The answer is that the two nodes at the end, or the two people that maintain the relation manage the link. They have to look at the quality of the relation by using the CCC method:
- What do we have in Common? - What do we have Complementary? - Where are the Conflicts?
Answer these three questions. The answers will generate a list of topics and count this topic list. Plot it into a pyramid. A good pyramid has a stable balanced base, a good balance between Common and Complimentary. In addition it has not too many topics in the top (Conflict).
What do we see in the business world? In corporate training? The people get trained in hard skills. “Node Skills". What makes a company fly high? Managing the nodes and the links, the relations. Therefore “Link Skills” are extremely important. This includes a good communication over the link between the nodes. The company PERFORMANT that I have founded with several others ensures in its training program that the communication over the link is optimized. "Link Skills" like team work are given high priority. For example, it is important that we communicate well to avoid assumptions and that perceptions and reality are clearly kept separate and well understood.
About to hire someone? Make sure the person understands how to manage the links.