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What’s the secret? Trust.

Commercial or business relationships are characterized by interdependence: the situation in which both parties depend on each other. A company or institution offers goods or services to a person or organization that needs them, while needing, in its turn, its goods and services to be sought after in order to survive and grow. Therefore the situation of mutual dependence is maintained.

In these circumstances, as in the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma, we must take account of this mutual dependence so that we can reach an equally mutual gain. Relationships in which systematically only one party wins while the other is wronged or dissatisfied are doomed to failure. As soon as the occasion presents itself, the wronged party will evade the relationship or will seek action that undermines the other party, in an effort to restore balance.

For this reason, companies and commercial projects that fail to recognize interdependence in the relationship with their clients and other stakeholders are sure to fail, if not in the short term, certainly in the long term.

The secret to making the situation of interdependence a successful one, in which both parties win, is trust. As in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, there is no other way out but to deliver trust to one another and rely on the fact that they will trust us. Otherwise, entrenched in our positions, we will fail to achieve more than our own personal gain, the interdependence principle is debased and we are acting against our own interests: as we have seen, the pursuit of one’s own gain with disregard to the gain of others is fatal to relationships, be them business or other – as people say “who wants everything, loses everything”.

Ethically and strategically, it is worthy to trust and be concerned in the trust of others – a blissful convergence of what is right and what most benefits the diversity of partners.