3 Keys to Navigating Your Business Relationships While the World Transforms Before Our Eyes

The meme above pretty much sums up the last six months.

No way were we ever prepared to deal with one massive transformation like a global pandemic, let alone multiple transformations at the same time.

Such change is both shaking ourselves and our relationships to the core.

I believe we can and will recover and rebuild our extremely fractured world. It may take generations, but we have the ability to do it.

To do so, we need to make some important choices about where we focus, what we build, how we build it, and whom we build it with.

The following three keys can help us do this work.

Business Relationship Keys

Key 1: Discern

When the world changes, we change with it. Plans that seemed amazing in January are suddenly much less appealing, or completely destroyed.

Through social upheaval and public discussions, many are grappling with how to lead, and whom to look to for leadership guidance.

In these times, we need to get extremely clear about what is important to us today, and what kinds of leadership and relationships we need for the future.

Lay out your updated business plan, including new or modified goals, required resources, key relationships, and required training for skills or competencies. Be specific about what you need and want from business relationships in this new era.

It is not the same world that we entered into on January 1. That is ok.

Key 2: Grieve

It can be exceptionally painful to let go of important plans and relationships. We are human, and form strong attachments to ideas and people.

It is ok to feel grief when you shift a long-term relationship, or even stop following a leader you formerly admired.

It is ok to feel grief when groups that were important to you shut down, or key friendships take a turn.

Grieving includes appreciating what you learned, valuing the contributions this person(s) made to your life and acknowledging the pain of letting go.

Grieving also can include feeling anger at being misled, sorrow at poor behavior, or regret from not seeing troubling behavior earlier.

Let these emotions out. Journal your thoughts. Talk to a trusted friend, counselor or therapist.

You grieve because you care, and that is a good thing.

Key 3: Anchor Your Values

My bff Desiree always says that it is impossible to do deeply transformative work while being transactional with people.

You can change relationships without being cold or cruel.

You can still hope and pray for a happy and healthy life for relatives that you may no longer be in communication with.

You can deeply disagree with someone without needing to destroy them.

If there is one thing that has become clear to me in these last few months it is that we need to hold the capacity for each other to change.

People should not be thrown away.

If we believe in healing, we can believe in accountability, and reparations, and transformed relationships.

We can also believe in clear and fixed boundaries, where emotional and physical safety require it.

Our journey through these multiple challenges can and will define our souls as individuals, communities and nations.

Despite the difficulty, I believe in you, and I believe in us.

Let’s get to work.

Reader Interactions


  1. Sonja says

    “You can deeply disagree with someone without needing to destroy them.”
    Loved this post, Pam, especially the line above. We won’t solve anything without conversation, and it’s especially important to know how to hold these conversations. Put down one’s digital devices. Listen. Come to conversations with curiosity and with the intention to learn something you did not know. This is the only way to move forward – by co-creating our future with those see the world differently that we currently see it.

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