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Strategies For Mixed Foreign Or Problematic Relationships

Offshore company captures online military vote. record, a close business relationship with Dick Cheney's Halliburton, and 2,500 partners of which more than half are not U.S. citizens. Since 2001. [Daypop Search - business relationship]

The above article is a startling example of how business relationships can come back to haunt you. Giving all parties a benefit of doubt, extremely large companies can technically be involved in millions of relationships of which a few can stand out. Growing relationships in this type of environment become regulated more by culture than rule.

Culture governs how people are expected to act in specific situations. What culture does your company have in regards to establishing new relationships? Is it okay for one division to work with foreign nationals while another federal contracts?

How your relationship is viewed by outsiders is just as important as the composition of the relationship. I've said it time and time again, if it would embarrass you in the news, you probably should not do it. However in this global market place, what is a company to do.

Strategies for mixed foreign or problematic relationships:

  1. Document everything, including who is responsible for each specific part of the engagement. By documenting the relationships to which you are involved you provide coverage for your own actions in the event of unknown circumstances.
  2. Swiftly and internally handle all inappropriate behavior as soon as it comes to light. Never let anyone do anything that could embarrass you or the company later. Wash your dirty laundry regularly.
  3. If you think you need to hide a situation, it's better to lose money now than be shutdown by a regulatory agency. Often the worst problems were those that someone didn't have the guts to face when it was first noticed. Take responsibility for the actions of your people.
  4. Practice internal checks and balances, self-regulate your actions against current laws. Utilize regulators inside your company who are under non-financial measures. Sometimes you have to check on your auditors.
  5. Don't award those who use questionable practices to "meet the numbers" -- punish them quickly. Turning a blind eye is as bad as breaking the law yourself. In the same vein, praise those who are honest and forthright.
  6. You may be under pressure to perform, but remember you always have to live with yourself. Don't do anything that compromises your own legal standing or personal beliefs. Practice your personal ethics in the business environment -- most people know what is right and wrong.
  7. Practice the rules your company has already. Often companies have policies in place to prevent fraud and waste, actually enforcing these rules can significantly improve relationships. Make sure everyone practices written rules, no unwritten-rules should be accepted.
  8. Dispose of quick win managers with seemingly overnight successes. If it's too good to be true, then check things over. Investors will always praise you for successes, and come down hard on you for any failures. Most likely things will check out, but be sure before you praise.
  9. Organize your public relations campaigns to promote a realistic messages. In the past, I might have said a positive message, but now people see right through biased messages. It's better to give bad news today, than end up the star of your own investigation tomorrow.

/ applying-strategy | strategic-relations /

By Justin Hitt at July 23, 2003 2:24 AM  Subscribe in a reader


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