12 Most Useful Tips To Keep The Magic Alive

12 Most Useful Tips To Keep The Magic Alive

We were talking the other day and it occurred to us that both sets of parents have been married for a combined total of over 100 years. That’s a long time and it doesn’t include the courting years. You should know that Amir’s dad started writing love notes and poems to Amir’s mom when he was still a boy.
This conversation was sparked by our celebration next week of Parissa’s parents’ 50th anniversary. We’re travelling with them on a celebratory vacation – something we’ve been planning since April.

This type of longevity doesn’t come easily and when we compared both our parents’ marriages and what we thought made them tick, we noticed similarities with business relationships. And with that, we’d like to share with you our 12 Most list on keeping the magic alive…

1. They Really Do Like Each Other

Sure, they love each other but we’re talking about liking each other as people. In both sets of parents, this is palpable. The questions remain with us in business. Do we like with whom or for whom we work? Do they like us? Are there ways that we can be more likable or try to understand the other party better?

2. They Celebrate Each Other’s Strengths and Complement …the Other Magic Stuff

Of course we want to think that we’re perfect. Sadly, we’re not. In any kind of relationship, understand the balance, the yin/yang of it all and try to adjust as needed. Be aware of your own capabilities and, if you can’t service a customer in the way they need, admit it readily and suggest an alternative provider. The customer will always come back to you because you helped them with this balance.

3. They Respect Each Other

This is easily an output of #1 and #2. Because they like and complement one another, they appreciate and respect their state of being. Do we respect our customers and colleagues? Are we sure we’re acting in ways that reflect that? It’s important to ask this question else we may lose them altogether if we are not careful.

4. They Listen to Each Other

We joked in our superheroes post that someone’s superhero listening skill would be in the form of a ginormous ear. Long marriages get that way because the hearing skills become more acute over time. Listening means active listening which doesn’t necessarily mean silence. Active listening means asking clarifying questions so you can get at the heart of the matter. Sometimes a stated issue is a symptom of a much larger problem. If you’re not listening, you’ll miss it.

5. They Enjoy Each Other’s Company

Yes, even after 50 years together, Parissa’s parents still like to sit up late watching TV, going on long walks, golfing and whatever suits their fancy. It’s not obligatory – they like it. Does your customer like to spend time with you? Do they enjoy meetings with you? Do they call and ask you for advice – just because? If so, it’s because you’ve listened carefully and you appreciate them. Keep up the good work!

6. They Can Spend Time Apart

And yet, though #5 is true, Parissa’s parents do have the capacity to do their own thing. They are two very independent people. It is 678 Partners’ philosophy that we’ve done our job when our clients say they’re successful on their own. We want them to separate from us because we’ve given them the tools to thrive. All businesses should feel this excellent about their work!

7. They Appreciate One Another

This is rather like #2 but this goes one step further. When one partner does something for the other, a simple thank you goes an extremely long way. When on a huge team assignment, do you thank your colleagues for their efforts? To be clear, this doesn’t mean thanking someone for showing up – that’s part of the job. We mean thanking them for the time, effort and energy expended to make everyone a success. And let’s not forget thanking customers neither!

8. They Compromise

Yeah, marriage is about compromise (along with a host of other things). Sometimes, you don’t get what you want but that’s okay because you’re able to see the forest for the trees. How are you able to arrive at a conclusion that maximizes everyone’s happiness? Are you willing to let go of your own agenda to see the bigger picture? When you stop the self absorption, it happens that you have more opportunity headed your way. Keep this in mind during your next client negotiation sessions!

9. They Apologize

No need to explain why this is critical. If you don’t want to sleep on the proverbial couch, you may want to ‘fess up to some bad behavior. The sooner you do so, the less likely it becomes an issue later on.

10. They Talk About the Past

Amir’s dad will often tell us (hilarious) stories of his life and Amir’s mom’s life. It makes us appreciate where they’ve been and where they are now. We also learn some valuable lessons as we move forward in our life. It is a super fast ever changing business world we live in, but there’s no harm in a little reflection to make sure we’ve got our business true north in our sights.

11. They Put Things in Perspective

Understanding where our parents have been (#10) is more than a history lesson. It gives us perspective on the landscape and helps us to be a little more philosophical and grateful. The beauty of reflection is that we become better strategists as opposed to lightning fast tacticians. We love awesome tacticians but if there’s no guide, there’s no point in firing that next round of business ammo.

12. They Are Generous

We’re both fortunate (and spoiled) to have parents who adore us and will do anything for our happiness – even, gulp, in our forties! It teaches us to keep the karmic virtuous circle alive. We know that being (sincerely) generous to clients, colleagues, contacts and connections will eventually boomerang back. Generosity doesn’t run out – actually, the more you demonstrate it, the more it self generates.

So, upon reflection, our 12 Most this week is a bit of on the emotional or even maudlin side. But that’s okay – we’ve learned that by blending the rational with the emotional we end up learning much about ourselves as well as others. Would you add a #13 or #14 to this list?

Photo courtesy of Hiking Artist, used under creative commons. Some rights reserved.

678 Partners


678 Partners helps senior executives find the revenue they didn’t know they had. Amir Rafizadeh, the Network Sommelier, creates customized strategic business development for his clients much like how one pairs a wine with a great meal. Over the past two decades, Amir has developed and mastered advanced rainmaker strategies that can create incremental revenue for his clients. Parissa Behnia, the Idea Chef, helps companies whip up meals in their marketing kitchens that delight customer appetites and make them come back for more. Her irrepressible imagination and strategic mindset are the salt and pepper of her business arsenal and are tools that can be applied to many industries.

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I've been married to my one and only husband for 35 years. We met and married within 6 months at ages 20 and 21. Our marriage fulfills every single step you mention. Any good relationship must: whether it is a marriage, parent & child or good friend.


How do you guys come up with such great ideas every week? It's really disgusting, quite frankly :)

It's funny how often the word "marriage" or "partner" is used in the business world, but I'm not sure people think about that very often. It's just a given. "The marriage beween our business and yours," or "the partnership of our companies." But what does that really mean? It goes back to a post I just read of Anthony Iannarino's where he talked about how winning on just price sets you up for losing on price. There needs to be something else there.

Magic seems like a good word to use :)

Have a great trip!


@margieclayman Thanks for your comment, Margie, and sorry for the delay in reply. We just got home this afternoon! I agree that people use partnership almost too loosely. If it is truly a partnership, we'd worry more about the care and feeding of it!