We have all been there. We go through the painstaking process of picking a supplier or vendor or contractor. The relationship starts out well, as it should because everyone involved is excited to start working together.

Inevitably, something happens, as life has a way of doing.

Many thoughts go through our heads. “Why did I go this route? Do they understand my needs and can they really do what they say they can do? What have I gotten myself into?”

What is important in business relationships, as in all relationships, is not how we roll with the good/easy stuff but how we work together when things aren’t right – how we navigate the tough conversations.

Successes are not always measured by what goes right because we’re all human and it’s only a matter of time before a mistake is made. We all do it. None of us is perfect.

Successes are also gauged by how we work together to resolve issues, and that takes a commitment on both sides. It takes communication. It takes patience. It takes listening to each other’s thought processes and not interrupting or judging how the other party might react.

More often than not, the people who weather the storm right alongside us end up being our biggest advocates, and lifetime relationships are forged. Not because it has been easy, but because both parties have mutual respect and a vested interest in each other’s success and happiness.

That is the difference between two ships that pass in the night and a true partnership.