Exceeding Expectations with Focused Relationship Management

Focused relationship management means bringing to bear all the resources and individuals necessary to ensure that not only are stated outcomes achieved but exceeded.  In a complex organization or a vendor-customer relationship, there will always be not only stated, specified goals to be achieved but also an expectation of satisfactory human relationships.  The human element can be challenging given the degree of diversity among co-workers and customers.

Managing diversity means being acutely aware of characteristics that may be common to a group and or an individual.  Diversity comes in all manners of being.   One must be able to accept and work with diverse individuals to ensure that satisfactory outcomes are achieved.

For managed relationships to work, let alone exceed expectations, there should be a high level of cohesiveness among or between the individuals in the relationship.  And that just does not happen by accident.   Cohesiveness is built on the commonality of purpose, like values, a willingness to consider varying points of view and most certainly goals or outcomes that by applied metrics meet or exceed a standard of performance.

Focused relationship management requires a variety of related roles.  Those different roles include, but are not limited to:

  • Work-flow
  • Service
  • Consultation
  • Advisory
  • Audit
  • Liaison

Additionally, each of the above roles can or will have relationships with one or more of the other roles.   And each relationship must take into consideration the aspects of diversity, and organizational and individual needs to ensure a productive outcome(s) given the activity and the extent of the involvement of the various individuals. 

The managed relationship can have an internal or external focus.  Internally, the focus may pertain to procedures and processes that make the organization run efficiently and effectively.  Externally, the focus must be not only on the paying customer, but also on other aspects of the external environment such as competition, regulation, and the economy.

Managed focus relationships may have as desired outcomes one or more of the following:

  • Short-term wins that excite the participants.
  • Long-term wins or achievements that move an organization into a position of increased customer satisfaction, increased competitiveness, or higher productivity.
  • Establishing new approaches, tactics, and processes that not only anchor the culture of the organization for future growth but position it for better future performance.

Depending on the nature of the relationship there will be some level of leadership needed to ensure that the managed relationship moves in a positive direction. To achieve success in the relationship the leadership must exert a level of control over the processes and activities.  Control requires setting performance standards, measuring performance, comparing performance against standards, determining deviations, and taking corrective actions.

In conclusion, for focused relationship management to exceed expectations the following must be recognized:

  • Control systems are necessary steering mechanisms.
  • Control systems must be based on valid, achievable performance criteria.
  • In today’s competitive and diverse business environment there may not be one best way to meet and exceed performance expectations.
  • To achieve success the individuals involved must own the expected outcomes as well as the process to achieve them.

Thank you for reading and please share your comments with us at

Jason Elder

Design Engineer