Remember That First Date?

In my practice as a Vistage chair, I often find myself noticing the similarities between business and dating. After all, dating is a “deal” of a sort, and there are “rules” and best practices we follow in an effort to get what we want, i.e. more dates, and in that special case, marriage.

Like dating, when we want that new customer, new employee or acquisition deal, there are rules and practices that business people follow to get what they want. And like dating, the “rules” are generally not written and the practices are learned along the way both from our own experience and from others who have done it before.

Here are some dating and business best practices I’ve learned along the way:

  • Be authentic.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be clear on what you are looking for in a partner, a customer, an employee or potential acquisition.
  • Be clear what it is you bring to the table and be realistic. That high powered CFO may be great in a Fortune 500 company, but is she really what your $30mm company needs?
  • Put yourself in situations to meet new people that fit. No matter what anyone tells you, it’s not a game of numbers; it’s all about defining and measuring fit.
  • Be clear about what fits with your culture.Unless your culture is one that fits, that wild guy or gal you wouldn’t bring home to Mom is probably not going to be your SO or your best customer, no matter what you are willing to pay.
  • As soon as you meet “Mr. or Ms. Right”, go out with someone else (when we get fixated on winning one partner, customer, employee, or acquisition candidate (buyer/seller), we can appear desperate).  In short, play like you have nothing to lose.
  • Go on a date with anyone once (okay, not someone you know is an ax murderer).
  • Go on a second date, if there was a spark of interest.
  • When she says she needs some time alone, or the prospect doesn’t get back to us right away, its not the time to call a day later and suggest coffee.
  • Once you have made a commitment, be committed. Give your customer, employee, buyer/seller a chance to right a wrong.
  • And… when a relationship fails (or the service is consistently poor), don’t drag out the exit. End it. Learn from your mistakes. Decide what to look for next round and start the cycle again.

Please click on comments and share your additions to this list.


Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain