For reasons which I'm still not entirely clear, my wife was watching a recent marathon of the Bravo reality TV program, "Millionaire Matchmaker." It's ostensibly a look at a matchmaking business run by Patti Stanger catering only to single, upper income men and women looking for love - or something damn near like it. Since "improve yourself / learn something-oriented" reality TV shows have been a major source of inspiration in developing the Brainzooming method, I'm always a sucker for watching one, too. Lo and behold, The Millionaire Matchmaker marathon yielded multiple solid strategy ideas relevant to strategic business relationships. And that, my friends, is clearly fodder for a Brainzooming blog post. Here are 5 strategic relationship-building lessons that can be valuable for developing million dollar strategic business relationships as well!
Identify your absolute requirements from a relationship before pursuing it. In one case a guy with a variety of failed relationships was evasive and very vague about what he really wanted in a woman. Patti challenged him to list his 5 relationship non-negotiables. A definitive list helped him do a better job of evaluating and ranking potential candidates as he met them. The same concept works in business, too.
2. Evaluate many more candidates than you'll ultimately select.
Don't ever think you're only looking for one "perfect" match. Patti interviews many more candidates then her clients will ever meet, and she makes them meet MANY potential people before they select one. Build an ample pool of clearly attractive candidates (who meet your non-negotiables list) and let the narrowing process work to get to the best ultimate candidate for a strategic relationship.
3. Ask questions - lots of questions.
It's important to know what you're getting into with a potential relationship partner. Patti Stanger both asks lots of questions and puts candidates in situations where they have to ask questions of one another and uncover who they really are. Before diving into finding a strategic relationship partner, ask yourself lots of pertinent questions also. Do the same with every potential candidate. No matter how well you think you already know them. Even better, observe them in situations as close as possible to those you'll experience during the relationship. It's all good learning.
4. Look for someone "age" appropriate.
Patti tries to match people on various criteria after interviewing the millionaires and potential dates. She hits especially hard on people whose immaturity shows through via an interest in dating outside their age range. Translating that to strategic business relationships, are you looking for candidates who are equally strong (if not stronger) partners for your organization? Don't set your sites on partners you can dominate. Seek out those who will challenge and make you grow as an organization.
5. Don't force awkward situations early in the relationship.
That initial date can always be a challenge. Patti has a list of what her clients on "The Millionaire Matchmaker" are not supposed to do on first dates (i.e. no dates requiring swimsuits). Her intent is to minimize stress points for everyone involved. It's a great idea to not push a strategic relationship too far, too fast. Organizations and the individuals active in the strategic relationship need time to get comfortable with one another before a potential crunch time hits. Build that time into the early relationship stages.
Pretty decent strategic relationship lessons from what is admittedly real junk food TV.
Do you watch "The Millionaire Matchmaker," and if you do, what other lessons (other than "Patti shouldn't wear such short skirts at her age") have you learned from it? - Mike Brown
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