Here's a top 3 of attitudes that you’ve probably already met, that may easily make or break a deal. These attitudes vary from one culture to another. But they are important for most cultures, as they define Commitment, which is fundamental for Trust, which is fundamental for Good Business.
With cultural diversity and speedy development of all sorts of products and services, today’s marketplace for business is a heterogeneous environment, where many species of business people, business practices & habits, are continuously emerging.
There is no universal recipe for good or bad business ethics, given that around the world there are different legal, environmental, social and human rules, procedures, practices. However, there is a universal need for reaching a common ground in business ethics, with our business partners, clients or suppliers, employees or employers, if we are to participate in successful, meaningful, business making.
Here are the top 3 attitudes that you’ve probably already met, that may easily make or break a deal. These attitudes vary from one culture to another. But they are important for most cultures, as they define Commitment, which is fundamental for Trust, which is fundamental for Good Business.
1. Sign up (commit to a course of action)
In some cultures, signing up means clearly communicating what is to be done. In others, it means communicating in a rather vague, symbolic, manner. In others, it is about showing availability to wait for the other party to put something forward, then to analyze and react to what’s on the table.
Whatever definition of commitment you share, as professional, there is no business outside a commitment. So exercising how to efficiently initiate or respond to commitment invitation, to or from business partners is the first way in which you may make or break a deal. For more ideas on this topic, you might like to read this coaching article on decision-making (link).
Romanian flavor deal breaking practice on signing up attitude:
Saying you intend to commit to something, while keeping in mind some doubts you may have. Not opening up for clarification your doubts, with your prospect business partners, but thoroughly going through each and every single doubt with your colleagues, as soon as the business meeting is over. By the time you decide to ask your prospective partners on the matters in doubt, you and your colleagues are already convinced signing up was not your best option...
Advanced deal-breaking version: running into the same prospects, by chance, on a different occasion, them seemingly surprised by your backing down in the past (which of course you hadn’t explained back then), you take the time and effort to explain to them (now) how you thought they had some doubts back then… Going into details (and rolling through some of the doubts you actually had in the past), you show empathy and understanding for them having doubted you like that...
2. Show up (invest in the agreed upon course of action)
In fact, this attitude is more accurately described as show up on time. It’s just that time has different meaning for different people around the world. In some cultures, being on a meeting on precise time is the rule. In others, showing up late is normal. In some Asian cultures, being on time means taking the time to participate to various rituals that are not connected to your business, but rather to the order and harmony of things, as seen by the locals, before attending to business.
Whatever concept of time you share, as professional, there is no business outside the participation of peer businesspeople, including yourself and your prospective partners, with respect, on both sides, to the conditions of starting, continuing and concluding a business interaction. For more information on time concepts in different cultures, you might like to read this coaching article on linear vs circular time (link).
Romanian flavor deal breaking practice on showing up attitude:
Saying you will attend a specific event (be it formal or informal, in person or over remote communication means), confirming it when asked, showing no signs of difficulty prior to the event. Then, in the dawn of the event, when the prospect partner calls on you, suddenly becoming unavailable...
Advanced deal-breaking version: after the event, coming up with a beautiful story filled with regret as to how, despite your greatest efforts, all fate (or other external factors) stood against you and prevented you from showing up… On the bright side, these ‘after the event’ stories can be quite funny, once you get the hold of them. Rarely does business happen afterwards, though, despite the fun.
3. Follow-up (deliver your part of action)
Having already gone through signing up and showing up, there’s really one more step to take, before successfully concluding a new deal. That is, there is still actually doing the actions agreed upon, those representing the deal itself. Here, also, cultural diversity, as well as company culture and individual preferences draw up a marvelously colored map of possibilities.
Whatever deal content you’ve agreed upon, getting it done turns the whole interaction thus far into business. And there is no business outside responsibility assuming. I’ve elaborated on this topic in a previous article (link).
Romanian flavor deal breaking practice on following up attitude:
Agree to a course of action. Miss the first deadline. Courteously and creatively apologize, making a great case for the righteousness of other business (or personal) commitments that kept you from delivering upon the present one. Rescheduling. Missing the next deadline, courteously and creatively adding to the previous apology. Keep going like that, until it becomes too late for the action to be meaningful, anyway, or until the others stop asking or waiting on you.
Advanced deal-breaking version: set upon the miss deadline-apologize vicious circle previously described. Spice it up by adding to the apology for your lack of delivery an impression-based finger-pointing or blame-assigning to someone else in the context, preferably someone who is actually working on delivering, while you’re working on delivering your masterfully crafted justifications.
Signing up, showing up and following up are the 3 basic elements of Commitment. Commitment, as previously stated, builds Trust, which leads to Good Business.
How often have you encountered practices that you appreciated, from your partners, on these 3 aspects? Have the deal-breaking flavors presented here sounded familiar? Perhaps that’s where you could start in resetting the grounds for sound, healthy, valuable, business networking and working professional relationships.