Arguably trust is today more than ever at the heart of value creation in the economy. The development of trusting, high-value business relationships is not an accident, it can be done purposefully. Below is a still highly-relevant excerpt from Chapter 4 of my book Living Networks describing how to do this.
Accelerating trust development
Participating in the network economy requires very actively developing new and existing relationships with customers, suppliers, and partners. As you saw earlier in this chapter, companies’ external relationships are becoming both deeper and broader. Some firms do whatever seems right each time they take on a new customer, supplier, or alliance partner. Others have careful and detailed processes for building closer relationships that benefit both parties. IBM spends almost $1 billion on its alliance program for software developers, getting its return through the generation of over $4 billion in additional sales. It has a formal 40-step process that executives must go through with potential partners before signing an alliance agreement, including examining the fit with IBM, and getting a senior IBM executive to agree to act as an internal sponsor for the alliance.