I have a concept about relationships that I really like (even if I sometimes forget to follow its teachings): In any meaningful relationship (business, personal or otherwise) each person should be 100% responsible for that relationship. I used to think that a relationship involved each of the parties to be responsible for 50% (i.e., and therefore the total 100% would be taken care of). I guess that works in theory, but if you think about it, your relationships will be much more meaningful (and fulfilling) if you take 100% responsibility for them. This plays well into my recent post on communication. If each person in a relationship is taking 100% responsibility for the communication in a relationship that communication is likely to be much more frequent and meaningful than if each person is waiting for it to happen ½ of the time (which is, of course, what happens if each person only takes 50% responsibility).
I’ve had a couple of break-downs in communication in the past few weeks – one with one of the CEOs I work with and another with a member of the executive team of one of our portfolio companies – and I realize that in both cases if I had taken full responsibility for the communication these break-downs would not have happened. These were relatively minor,but being a VC is largely about the relationships one has (with entrepreneurs, with CEO’s and executive teams, with other VCs, with people in the extended community in which we live and work, etc.) – so taking them seriously is really a key part of my job. Hopefully next time I’ll remember my own advice . . .