I had lunch with a friend yesterday and talked about how he started his business over a year ago as well as how we can work together in the future. I then met with a new contact who had started his career in financial sales and was looking to transition into software sales. He was looking for insight on how to make that change. Toward the end of the day, I spoke with one of my lifetime friends about how his position at work may be in jeopardy. He sounded disheartened, and all I could think about was how can I help him land a new job if he’s laid off.
Some may cringe at the thought. I certainly did the first time someone told me this. My father had taught me never to enter any business transaction with friends at the fear of ruining friendships. Many of my mentors have told me I should treat people at work as just that: people at work and at an arm’s length. After all, they’re acquaintances, not friends.
I don’t buy into any of these and I don’t think you should either. I love working with friends. There are many advantages to it. Here are but a few:
- Loyalty: Friends are loyal to one another. As a result, if temptation arises to abandon a friend in the middle of a deal, they’ll think twice about it.
- Reliability: Because friends value their friendships and wish to keep it they’ll also do their best for one another. That means they’ll show up when they say they will, deliver what they promise, and be there when you need their help the most.
- Security: Friends you can trust with your personal secrets, you feel you can also trust with your business secrets. Though everyone will still sign their non-disclosure agreements, keeping company trade secrets is what they’ll inherently give each other.
Any argument for drawbacks of working with a friend state the opposite of the advantages. They often revolve around why you wouldn’t want to ruin a relationship by putting a friend on the spot for not delivering or for poor performance. My response is that you likely don’t trust that person as a friend to begin with. So, you’re right! You shouldn’t do business with him.
Keep in mind, I don’t use the word “friend” loosely. I’m talking about people you feel you can confide in and rely on before you ever do any kind of business with. I’m not talking about the guy or gal that you meet and have a one-time cup of coffee with. Friendship takes many months and years to build. It requires all the little tests we have for defining who’s a true friend and who isn’t.
So, go ahead and determine who are your true friends…and don’t be shy to work with them either!
What Do You Think?
Feel free to comment below about the people you work with.