One of my secondary jobs when I was flying for the Navy, was as LSO (landing signals officer). If you aren't familiar, he's the guy that stands at the back of the Carrier and controls the airplanes coming into land. It was a job that was both rewarding and often exhausting.
Good or bad (depending on who you are and how you look at it) - no two days were ever the same.
As an LSO, my main tool was my voice - my communication skills. Unfortunately, as we all know, communication is a two-person activity, so I also needed to make sure that the pilots were listening. . . and even more importantly, understood what I was saying. That didn't happen overnight. As good an LSO as I thought I was, I had to earn the pilots respect and I needed to learn their limitations.
Literally, half of my job was spent building a rapport and trust with every pilot in the Air Wing (learning about them, who they were, and their strengths and their weaknesses) - so when the times got tough, when the seas were rough, the deck was moving all over, the winds were gusty, and it was a dark, "no moon" night, I would know what help each pilot needed, how they would respond, and that they would trust and listen to me.
Funny thing is, being an LSO, is a lot like coaching. In fact, I wished I would have known then, what I do know now - I might have been a better LSO. But I did alright - Thankfully, in the 8 years that I "waved" aircraft aboard Aircraft Carriers, there was never an accident on my watch - a fact I'm quite proud of.
Why do I bring this up in a business / personal coaching blog? Because great two-way communication isn't built overnight - and it's never there when you need, unless you worked hard on it, when you didn't need it.
In any relationship, business, personal, or even intimate, you WILL hit tough times. You will have a crisis that you will have to contend with. And getting through that crisis is going to take communication - in many cases great communication. But if you wait until the crisis comes, it will most likely be too late.
Unfortunately, most people think they are good enough to blow off the daily communication - trust building - and still be able to power through the tough times. And to be honest, in my humble opinion, most people are fools.
Real open and trusted communication, the kind needed to survive a crisis, or even to build greatness in an organization requires consistent care. It requires regular (near daily) contact between both parties. It requires trust.
I can promise you, that you will hit hard times in some relationship that you have. It might not be tomorrow or the next day, but it will come. And when it does, you are going to wish you had better communication skills. You are going to wish the other person would listen to you and trust you. And they will be thinking the same. But when you are in the situation, most likely with trust stretched thin and emotions frayed, you aren't going to be able to work both on the problem and your communication skills. And that means that you will NOT, most likely come up with the best possible solution - the win-win solution.
Sure you might get lucky once in a while - but expecting it time and time again without laying the necessary groundwork is insanity.
Stop playing Russian Roulette with your relationships. Stop expecting your suppliers, employees, customers, friends, family, wife or husband to be there and listen to you when you need them - if you aren't there and listening to them when you don't. Take time everyday to take care of one (or more) of your critical relationships. Talk to them, not about work, or about tough things - talk to them about them. Listen to their stories - understand who they are now, so that when some crisis has come up that has worn you both down, and your relationship is stressed or strained, you have a foundation of trust that you can count on.
Build the foundation of real communication so it will carry you through the worst conditions you ever face.