If your job is like mine, every day you meet different people from different backgrounds that hold different views on a variety of topics. Yet, we work with one another to meet objectives, increase revenue, generate customers, service their company/market, provide supplies, purchase parts/services from them and much more.
Let’s face it not every customer is a joy. Some can be totally unrealistic, demanding, overbearing, downright ornery, and contentious, but we still do what’s best for their company, or our’s if we are using their services/products. We get along because we have a common goal of improving products, sales, customer service, response time, generating clients, and improving the bottom line of both companies. Despite these differences we stay on the same page, or work hard to get there.
Then why can’t we do this in our communities? Why do we draw lines and point out differences? Why do we separate and withdraw from one another? Why are we able to work together yet in many cases unable to live together? Why are we so quick to judge/condemn people with which we otherwise work, serve, or call upon?
I am a Christian. It’s no secret. My faith guides my professional decisions, but it does not prevent me from working with every client we have, even those that don’t share my belief system, or moral compass. Yes, my company has boundaries. For example we will not knowingly serve a client engaged in illegal activity. But few people would. However, every single day I deal with clients who have a different worldview, politics, religious, cultural view, or background from mine.
Learning to respect one another is probably the most important factor in business relationships. We are finding our way to trust each other. Trust is built upon respect. Trust cannot occur if we do not interact and listen to one another.
However, we don’t have to agree on everything to do business with one another. We come together out of a mutual need/benefit. And that goal is always at the forefront. Trust is foundational in business. It’s true, you can’t put a pig in a tuxedo and expect him to be socially correct. He’s a pig. However, you can work with him in his environment to meet his current needs, share ideas and develop solutions for his/her problems.
What if we applied the respect we employ in business to our neighbors, culture and city? What if we lowered our barriers to those with whom we disagree and start listening to one another. Not in an effort to convert, or change each other, but just to listen and gain respect among one another. This is not meant to be a political, or racial statement. It’s simply an observation that if we can come together in business we can come together beyond business. Learning to respect one another is probably the most important factor in ANY relationship.