Best of 2011: Mark Shearon on Why the Importance of Relationships Endures

December 21, 2011, 8:30 AM EST

Economic times are tough, and it appears we’ll be dealing with this for the foreseeable future. So logic would dictate that clients will continue to bid out work on a project-by-project basis to squeeze every last dollar out of vendors, right? Not so fast. It’s my belief that just the opposite should—and will—occur. Remember loyalty and commitment? They’re coming back. Because in challenging economic times, it’s even more imperative that clients and vendors work as one. The most successful and real progress in cost reduction comes from sustainable relationships between clients and vendors working together with a long-term view on their respective businesses. Clients demand partners who are fluent in their business. Fluency takes time and commitment. It also breeds efficiency and value. Who do you want at your side—a new low bidder for each program, or a trusted partner who knows your pain and has your back?

—Mark Shearon (
@markshearon), founder and managing partner, Proscenium, New York

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