Does your relationship feel like work? Do you notice that you find yourself psychoanalyzing your mate, or rationalizing behavior that you find unacceptable? Do you go along to get along? These relationship strategies would not work in a successful business model, nor in a successful relationship. In fact, there are many similarities between good business and good relationship models.

Though you never want your relationship to be cold, calculating, or manipulating, there are basic rules of engagement that work well for both business and personal relationships:

1. In a good relationship, partners need to have similar values. This is also true in business. If each partner in both domains speaks the same language and shares the same values, they’re more likely to have the same vision for success. In business, you’d call this a good mission statement or business plan.

2. Focus is very important in relationships. For example, paying attention to each other’s needs and being aware of each other’s feelings allows each partner the opportunity to empathize with each other, rather than be reactive when problems arise. In business, such focus keeps you on top of your game and helps you take the positive steps that are necessary to catch problems before they become catastrophes.

3. When partners love each other, they are more willing to go the distance, no matter what life hands him or her. However, partners can love one another and still not make their marriage work. The same is true of business. A business can have a great business model and still not be able to succeed. In business, as in relationships, the four most important words are: commitment, obligation, responsibility, and mutuality.

4. All relationships, including business relationships, strategize. Partners in both scenarios take assessments and invest themselves in the actions necessary to achieve their goals. For example, in both relationships, success depends on communication, negotiation skills, collaboration, and a mutual investment in a positive outcome.

5. Value for value. In a good relationship, as in a good business deal, negotiations end with value for value: something left on the table of equal importance for both parties. This makes business partners, as well as relationship partners, mutual and mutuality is a win-win for everyone.

6. Maintenance. In both relationships, it’s important to maintain good will. This means to see and hear your partner, and value and validate them. In a relationship, for example, it’s important to respect your partner, remember important events, and be alert to signs of distress or danger. Of course, this is also important in business. In both situations, partners need to feel secure, and feel their needs are being met.

7. If problems cannot be solved in-house, both businesses and personal relationships must seek outside help. Business partners may reach for consultants while relationship partners may reach for a counselor to solve problems and reignite his/her relationship.

8. Finally, if the relationship or business partnership just can’t work, it’s important to recognize when to throw in the towel and leave. In business, your best loss is your first loss. In relationships, it’s important to recognize when to quit, when you’ve run out of options, and when your sense of self and emotional well-being is in jeopardy.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.