What does it feel like to be in a strong We relationship with a customer? Or, similarly, what does it feel like, as a customer, to be in a strong We relationship with a company from whom you buy products or services?
I used to teach sailing. Not that I was ever very good at it, but my summer camp sailing experiences entitled me to get a job at a different summer camp as a teenage sailing instructor. I love sailing, especially the feeling of working, as one, with the boat as we navigate the wind and waves. This feeling is at its most intense and rewarding as the wind forces a boat to lean leeward, and, with the sheets (ropes) in my hand, I hike (lean) back to counter-balance this force and, together, the boat and I balance to create a faster speed.
In an interview in my book We (pages 83-84) my friend Karyn Kedar likens a great conversation to the movement of a sailboat, tacking to find its best course in the wind. Karyn’s sailing metaphor for a conversation reminded me of a scene from the 1940 film, The Philadelphia Story, in which Katherine Hepburn’s character, Tracy Lords, describes a favorite sailboat to Cary Grant’s character, C.K. Dexter Haven: “My, she was yar- it means easy to handle, quick to the helm, fast, right. Everything a boat should be.”
Now, I want to up the ante, beyond conversations. Yes, we want our conversations to feel yar, like the boat Tracy Lords describe. But I want whole relationships to feel yar. I want my customers and I to navigate our relationships the way a sleek, agile sailboat and the sailor collaborate as they skim across the water, tacking back and forth to reach their shared destination.
Are your best relationships yar? Do they move gracefully towards the future? Are you and your customer connected and collaborating like an agile boat and its skipper?