Business is a series of human interactions. Even the world of economics is nothing more than human designed interactions. To know that all you have to do is remove humans from the equation. When you do, both business and economics disappear. I particularly love that economics disappears since so many people seem to think it’s a system of immutable laws that govern the world in which we live. To me that’s funny. But to paraphrase, I suppose if we believe in the social structures they are real in their consequences.
All that said, I believe that almost all business interaction is based on trust. Whether that is between companies, groups, or individuals. But by trust I don’t actually mean hoping your partner will do the right thing by you. What I mean is that your partner is consistent in their behavior – predictable. That day in and day out they will interact and deliver and respond consistently.
I think it’s critical that when you pick a partner, you trust your partners. That everyday you know exactly how they will behave in an interaction. Maybe that means they are going to try and short change you, or steal an idea, or offer generously of their ideas and energy. In any case you MUST know how they will react in any given situation or you can not manage your strategy. You can apply this to competitors or business friends.
And to trust requires listening and understanding. That’s where you start in a partnership and proceed with openness. That makes the business of human interaction work.
[note: edits made to correct from entry on my handheld]