If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you know that not everyone is a team player. There are those who are only looking out for “number one” and who will seize every opportunity to throw others under the bus if it serves their purposes. You’ve probably worked with people like this. They are the first to point fingers when a project starts to go sideways, and rarely take responsibility when their own actions contribute to problems.
Thankfully, though, not everyone is this way. There are people who truly want to cultivate harmonious working relationships with others. They understand that when everyone does their part, communicates clearly, and trusts each other it makes everyone’s jobs easier—and often more enjoyable.
Matt Grisafe, the owner of AV Programming Associates, knows this all too well. As a business owner for more than 20 years, Grisafe has a wealth of experience working with other business owners. His company does Crestron programming for high-end audio video systems in homes and businesses throughout the country—and even around the world. His company almost always works as part of a team with other companies, such as general contractors and AV integrators.
Grisafe says, “In the world of Crestron programming, the successful completion of projects depends greatly on the ability of the various companies and individuals involved to work in harmony—almost as if they were members of the same organization. We’ve been involved in projects where this has worked extremely well, and in others where it has almost seemed like companies were actively working against each other. Even if the client is ultimately happy with the end result of the project and the project is deemed successful, it always makes the work more enjoyable if there is a sense of teamwork during the process.”
According to Grisafe, there are two keys to successfully working with other companies and business owners:
According to Grisafe, it’s important to set the tone early when it comes to communicating with other people and businesses on projects. He says, “The first time I work with a new company on a project, I establish a culture of open communication from the get-go. I communicate expectations and let the leaders of the other companies know that they can come to me at any time to discuss concerns or issues.”
Grisafe continues to stay in touch with all of the parties involved throughout the course of the project. He says, “I inform them when my portions of the job is expected to be completed—especially when I know someone is depending on me to complete my work before they can start theirs. If anything changes along the way, I make sure to communicate that as well. I don’t think there’s any such thing as over-communicating.”
He also draws up very clear contracts that spell out exactly what his portion of the project entails and what he needs from other parties in order for his work to be completed successfully.
Building and Maintaining Trust
Grisafe also knows the importance of building trust when it comes to successful business relationships. He is very intentional about doing what he says he will do, and doing his part to contribute to the overall success of a project. But he also makes it clear that he expects the same of everyone else involved.
Loyalty is another big part of building trust, according to Grisafe. In business, you can’t be short-sighted. He says, “Working in a niche industry as I do, I come across the same companies over and over. It pays (literally) to be loyal to others. In business, relationships are everything. But since relationships involve people, they can often be messy. Trust doesn’t come easily. It needs to be earned, and even after you’ve earned someone’s trust, you need to maintain it. It’s an ongoing process.”