Client Partnership

Here at GDI, INC we not only act as an offsite design team for our clients, but we are actively partnering with our clients to grow their business. I would like to write a few words on the difference.

Partnership Defined

A partnership is two or more people or groups of people that join in a common effort. Their goals, efforts, and interests are aligned.

Henry Cloud in his book Integrity discusses how work, negotiations, relationships all work better when we trust one another.

Cloud describes three stances of “trust”. The first is paranoia, someone who is surrounded by others who can’t let down his guard. Someone is going to stab them in the back, they are sure of it.

The second is the quid pro quo approach. If you are good to me, I’ll be good to you. If you perform for me, I’ll perform for you. However, if you don’t perform, I will stop performing. If you are not good to me, I will not be good to you. This seems “fair”. However, the relationship is on thin ice. It may survive a few falls, but too many, and both parties are out of there. There is also a level of antagonism acting as an undercurrent to the relationship.

The third is what Cloud describes as “true trust”. True trust means that my goodness, kindness, and performance are not tied in anyway to your goodness, kindness, or performance. Regardless of how I am treated I will still act towards you in the same way. This doesn’t mean we tolerate caustic and harmful situations and allow them to continue. But, while addressing the harmful actions or lack of performance of the other party, I will continue to work towards their best interests even if they are not currently working towards mine.


The importance of true and honest feedback between us and our clients is imperative to a successful partnership. Though we are for our clients, we at times make mistakes. We at times do not perform to the standards that they want. What will happen? Some clients are in the first stance of paranoia, their fears have proved true, and they sever the relationship.

Other clients fall into the second stance. They may be more patient, but they basically tell us to stop making mistakes and that is it.

Our best clients are those that are for us, who are proactive with feedback, who help us understand our mistakes, and help us perform better. These are the clients that are reaping the benefits of a prolonged relationship of true trust. Where both we and they know that we are working towards the others best interest.

What about you? Do you see the approach of “true trust” benefiting you in your business and relationships? Let us know in the comments below.

Tim Hoke

Design Manager / Sales – Gould Design, Inc.

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