Better Business Relationships

Posted on: July 31, 2018

Endorsements for Better Business Relationships

“Occasionally you come across books that are timely, utterly important and overdue. This is one of them. Better Business Relationships is packed with useful advice which is well written and remarkably thoughtful.” Clive Lewis OBE, DL Business Psychologist; CEO, Globis Mediation Group (@GlobisLtd)

“Better Business Relationships is a book for our time. Tasso captures a moment in our evolution where we could all do with refocusing back on what really matters: people.” Dr Sean Tompkins (D.Eng.), Global CEO, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (@RICSchiefexec)

“Business leaders must be able to build real and meaningful connections with their clients, teams and communities – otherwise, are they really leaders? Better Business Relationships is a timely, thought-provoking and engaging read.” Paul J English, Global Leader, Markets & Clients, Grant Thornton (@GrantThornton)

“Kim explodes the myth that business relationships have to be cool and free of emotion. Her distilled wisdom and practical checklists show how best to enhance our natural human ability to communicate with others for mutual benefit.” Richard Chaplin, Founder & Chief Executive, Managing Partners’ Forum (@MPFGlobal)

“This book is an engaging read, written in a no-nonsense style and packed with helpful, practical tools and tips for building and maintaining effective business relationships.” Dr Kathryn Waddington, Course Leader MSc Business Psychology, University of Westminster (@UoWPsych)

“For anyone whose business depends upon not only building, but maintaining and developing business relationships, this book is a must read.” Chris Pullen, Business Development Director, EY Law (@EY_UKI)

“Business relationships are not the same as social ones, requiring different skills and knowledge. Tasso provides a useful overview of theories, ranging from non-verbal communication, attitudes to change, creating rapport and why relationships sour.” Kiran Kapur, CEO, Cambridge Marketing College (@cmcpointsofview)

Reviews of Better Business Relationships

Paul English, Director at Grant Thornton International (Winter edition of Professional Marketing Magazine)

“Kim Tasso reminds us early on in her book that while no one teaches you about relationships, nearly every aspect of business life demands effective relationships skills. True enough. If you can create exceptional connections with your teams and your markets, you gain genuine advantage. This may explain why I jumped ahead to the section on “How to be liked”.

While this book may not ‘teach’ you how to build relationships, it certainly shines a light on the wide range of factors and considerations that are at play across the relationship lifecycle – from handling first meetings to dealing with conflict and difficult behaviour.

The style of the book is a curation of concepts and frameworks blended with everyday practical insights. With a nice clear structure and short and snappy sections, the book feels accessible and digestible. One example being “Bullying, control freaks and stubbornness”, which having worked in professional services for 15 years didn’t seem that relevant..(ahem). Or “Why relationships go wrong” – something we could all write our own book on.

The book starts in a sensible place with a focus on understanding self and understanding others, and the importance of being able to manage differences in styles. It then explores dimensions of managing change and adaptation and effective communication. Unusually for business books, the second half of the book gets stronger as it moves into relationship formation and conflict management, plus an exploration of “Internal relationships” and “External relationships” and selling.

Kim has hand-picked models and references that are informative and cute. I’m still thinking about the four typologies of internal politics, and while I’d like to think I’m a Wise Owl, I may turn out to be an Inept Donkey. “Relationships are about people. So, before you get onto business matters it helps if you get on as people.” In a cross border and virtual business environment, this can be a real challenge. In many cultures around the world, it can be very difficult to get traction and buy-in to even the best ideas, if you haven’t invested in the relationship first. Once trust is established, everything accelerates but this can be hard to do when you are thousands of miles away.

Which brings me onto the reference to “Working in a Digital World” in the book’s subtitle. There is some good coverage of the implications of digitisation for relationships, but I would have liked to go deeper into this new area. I did pick up a new acronym, IRL (In Real Life), which delineates between the physical and cyber worlds. What percentage of your relationships are principally managed IRL?

So back to the question of “How to be liked”. Likeability guru Dale Carnegie is quoted in Kim’s book as saying, “You can win more business in two months by being interested in other people than in two years trying to be interesting.” And I do think that better business relationships begin with empathy. Listening with genuine interest and seeking to understand before seeking to be understood. Themes that run right through this book”.

Roger Bell, Director at Vysable (19 October 2018 on Amazon)

“General Eisenhower was selected to lead the team formulating, organising and executing the Normandy D-Day Landings – which, according to the Imperial War Museum website, was the largest naval, air and land operation in history. He was selected, not because he was the highest scoring general to come out of West Point but because of his renowned talent in managing difficult and challenging people – Roosevelt, Churchill, General De Gaulle, General Montgomery & General Paton – none of whom could be described as “easy” characters.

So over 70 years ago the US military, not perhaps an institution noted for its appreciation of the “softer skills,” in management – for arguably the most important offensive mission on the Western front selected a man whom they knew exemplified such skills and was supreme in relationship management in order to “get the job done.” It is difficult to think of another example where the stakes were higher and it remains an important lesson for all of us who have an interest in management, business strategy et al. Despite this, helpful books on “business relationships” are few and far between – in some cases written by well-intentioned academics with minimal experience of working within business or indeed managing across diverse, multi-generational teams. In addition such efforts frequently confuse cause and effect.

Indeed in my own MBA, it was not a subject that was addressed explicitly and looking back I think it was assumed that you developed your own style from “experience.” One wonders why UK productivity lags our international competitors…? Into this space comes Kim’s latest book “Better Business Relationships” – brave in scope, it combines a breezy, helpful, sympathetic tone with the right amount of academic rigour. In fact Kim’s extensive experience working across all levels of the legal, and accountancy professions shines through – there is an underlying, confident authority within the book that I found helpful and at times she is not afraid to go back to first principles and take the issues and the arguments from the top. From my perspective I thought that chapter 8 – “Managing Stress, mindfulness and building resilience,” was particularly helpful and since reading it – I found many of the ideas coming back to my conscious mind as I go about my daily routines and work. For anybody interested in the study and the practice of management, I think this book will be helpful and there is something there for even the most experienced practitioner.”

Irish Tech News (17 October 2018)

“This is a better book than the cover and subtitle led us to expect. Something about the cover just looked a bit too contrived, and the mention of psychology also made us wonder which direction this book was going to go into. Instead it actually proved to be a very comprehensive overview of a whole range of important business management issues. With a lot of good ideas, solutions, and options for those looking to deal with the challenges of dealing with a diversely motivated, and often remotely distributed workforce.

Many books we have reviewed recently have covered one or more aspect of the topics mentioned in this book, however Tasso manages to cover all of these topics in this book, and in a thoughtful and interesting way. If you are looking for one point of entry to a whole range of useful tips for dealing with business relationships in a successful way, then this is a great book to pick up and read”. Irish Tech News October 2018

About Better Business Relationships

Business success is reliant on being able to get on with people. No matter what role you have in an organization, the ability to influence, persuade, change, motivate and encourage others to act is vital.

Better Business Relationships brings together a wealth of knowledge, insight and practical advice, from leaders in psychology and management to communications and sales, to provide insight and guidance to both new and more experienced business people, who may be dealing with both internal colleagues and external clients.

With my life-long passion for psychology – spanning undergraduate studies, NLP training, psychometric assessments, professional coaching qualifications and counselling training –  interwoven with three decades in the business world, this book is something I’ve wanted to write for a long time.

The pace of technological development means that increasingly people communicate digitally so communication skills and the ability to form meaningful professional relationships is at risk of becoming a dying art. There is a generation gap – both the old and the new generations need to develop a deeper understanding of each other and adapt so that it can be bridged. There is increased diversity in the workplace – with more virtual teams with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

While working with business leaders as a strategic consultant and Non-Executive Director (NED) and also with those entering the workforce, I have been frustrated that there wasn’t a single source of information to guide them through the maze of communication and relationship challenges. My ambition was to create one book that covered a wide range of psychological ideas that would support better business relationships in an accessible way.

The book contains six sections around my DACRIE© model which covers:

  1. Difference and diversity – understanding yourself and other people
    • Personality, style, perception and cognition
    • Managing emotions, authenticity, emotional intelligence (EQ) and empathy
    • Gender, generation and cultural differences
  1. Adaptation and change
    • Habits, filters and comfort zones
    • Learning processes – managing change in ourselves and others
    • Resilience and stress management
  1. Communication
    • Face-to-face, telephone, presentation, written and digital
    • Non-verbal communication (NVC)
    • Influence, persuasion and storytelling
  1. Relationships and conflict management
    • Relationship management competencies including rapport and trust
    • Different types of relationship and how they are formed
    • Difficult behaviours, conflict management and negotiation
  1. Internal relationships;
    • Organisational culture, working with your manager and internal politics
    • Groups and teams – styles, integration, buy-in and performance
    • Delegation, coaching, feedback, motivation and leadership
  1. External relationships
    • Self-esteem, confidence and client service
    • Decision making processes – Selling yourself and your ideas
    • Meetings, pitches, key accounts and referrer management

Better Business Relationships is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their relationships at work and gain a greater understanding of critical social and communications skills required to succeed in any professional or business environment.

Better Business Relationships was published in September 2018. Further details from Bloomsbury: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/better-business-relationships-9781472957016/ The book can also be ordered on Amazon.

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