Relationship Power Play

If you run a company, your customers hold the balance of power. Are you delighting them, or leaving an opening for somebody to cut your grass?

IF you want to know which party holds the balance of power in a relationship, you just need to look at the direction in which the gifts are flowing. The gift recipient almost certainly holds the balance of power.

If you are the partner of a management consulting firm taking the CEO of a large corporation out to dinner, you had better choose a nice restaurant, be charming as hell, and pick up the bill at the end of the night.

If you are Apple Inc. planning the launch of the latest iPhone, you had better dazzle your fans at the Worldwide Developers Conference, produce appealing advertisments to delight and inform the public, and maintain beautiful stores where customers can discover your products for themselves.

If you are a guy inviting a girl on a first date, you had better make sure she has a good time.

Relationships are tricky things, and there will always be people and companies who get it wrong.

The partner in a consulting firm who neglects his clients and believes the quality of his work should ¨speak for itself¨. The retail store manager who never smiles and spends more time stocking shelves than talking to people. Or the radical feminist who believes that if a guy treats a girl nicely and insists on paying for dinner that he is somehow opposed to equal rights for women.

Relationships are tricky things, and there will always be people and companies who get it wrong.

While we may not be able to straighten out the perplexed, we can at least do our best to understand our relationships with other people.

Who holds the balance of power, and are you making them happy?

[Hat tip to Matt Costa.]