Beautiful Short-Term Business Relationships

“Some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” – Anonymous

In a recent half-day strategy session, I had a conversation with a CEO and an executive about a close colleague who had recently left their team. They had done spectacular work together and even became close friends outside the office. This direct report had been so good, and had become such an incredible thought partner, that they made the executive notably better at what they did.

Clearly, it was a beautiful relationship – so much so that they were devastated when the colleague left. It hurt.

So, we talked about it, and what came up was that it was painful because the executive had a story in his head that the relationship was supposed to last forever. He felt betrayed and didn’t want to invest in building other relationships in case it happened again.

No wonder he was disappointed! That’s like saying that a movie or a piece of music is so good it’ll never end. And that’s just not possible.

Love the Lessons

It’s important to love the lessons (Chapter 15 in my book), and to see the positive in every situation.

As long as he could only see the negative, he’d be held back from building the quality of relationships that gets incredible work done, in this company’s culture.

Appreciate that painful experiences make you stronger and smarter.

To be OK, he needed to rewire and change his story because, truth is, some relationships are meant to be short, some are meant to be medium term, and others are forever.

To consider that all good relationships will last ‘forever’ is not the healthiest approach – or even possible. So be open to great, short-term relationships which can bring something fresh and amazing to your life – and appreciate them for what they are.

The Challenge

Think about the amazing working relationships you have:

  • Which ones may be meant to be short term that you’re trying to make long term?
    • What’s your next step?
  • Which ones have outlived their lifecycle and continue out of loyalty or habit?
    • How do you move on?
  • Which ones have the potential to be long term that you can put more energy into?
    • What can you do about that?
  • For your forever relationships, what can you do to enhance them?