10 Dec Like A Spider
Like a Spider
Tenacity’s Founding Partner, John Gamble, is probably the most creative – out of the box – thinker I know. Who else would tune in to the Discovery Channel to watch a documentary on a gigantic and morbidly frightening spider, dwelling deep in the jungles of some hopelessly remote country (I hope never to visit), weaving a web as large as my house and think “Wow! – What a great metaphor for the way we should be thinking about our business relationships!” Only John.
The truth is, it inspired one of the best pieces of management thinking that I know of (of course, I’m admittedly biased). You see, in weaving this huge web, this large and tenacious spider exercised complete control over its’ environment. Communication throughout the web kept the spider in constant touch with everything that happened within. And it did so in real time – whether a threat was encroaching or an opportunity presenting itself – as in an insect or food source was becoming entrapped. In either case, the change in the environment would require swift action – and our spider would be equal to the task.
When applied to the proactive management of relationships, in an outsourcing or service contract, the parallels hold together. The service provider (the spider) must connect itself to all the key decision points in the client environment – particularly the people on the client side who can hire, fire, or influence those who can. Connections (the individual strands of the web) must also be woven to other key players on the provider side, who are tasked with managing the relationship and bringing value to it.
We have learned that a ratio of 3:1 is ideal. In other words, everyone on the client side who qualifies for inclusion in the Web of Influence®, should be known by – and mapped to – three people on the provider side. Once mapped in this manner, each individual on the provider side is both responsible and accountable for the touch point frequency and the quality of the business relationship they have been assigned. Of course, relationships are both art and science – this is the science.
When fully formed and relentlessly maintained, the “Web of Influence” is one of the most powerful relationship management templates that can be employed to nurture professional relationships – a key requisite for client retention leadership.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where a key client contract was based primarily on just one relationship? Was that just a bit of an uncomfortable feeling? Did you take some action in response? Do you wish you had?