Karma Transactional versus Relational

10 Signs You’re Transactional versus Relational

What is the difference between Transactional Versus Relational?

It’s the difference between the short con and the long con. It’s the difference between win/lose and win/win. It’s Fake Phony Pretendpreneur versus the real thing…. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs. Transactional versus Relational is the difference between Donald Trump versus Warren Buffet (if you don’t know which person in that last scenario was transactional and which was relational you should leave this blog right now and read Bernie Madoff’s blog posts).

I’m not a spiritual guy and yet I’m a big believer in Karma.  I’m not talking about Karma as a magical force in the universe but the kind of Karma where the weight of all your bullshit eventually crashes down on you until your life is deservedly in a shambles.

Transactional people look at each deal, every interaction as if it is a singular event unrelated to any past or future events. Transactional versus Relationship based leadership is doing whatever it takes to get the deal, making promises to incent a person to act and then backing away from the promises once you’ve benefited from the action. It’s selling a lemon that you know is rotten.

I have an acquaintance who once ran an accelerator which was a failure in everyone’s mind but the acquaintance. He asked me and many other people if we would be willing to be mentors. When I said yes, he told me I had to invest in his accelerator to be a mentor… that’s transactional. What he was saying is he only wanted mentors who were stupid enough to trust him and invest in him. The signal I got was that the quality of a person’s background wasn’t important to him when selecting mentors. Raising enough money was what mattered. How does that help his portfolio companies? That was transactional versus relational.

In today’s world we can’t fake reputation. Our history is written in bits and bytes all over the internet. Everyone’s biography is information at our fingertips and the useful life of a lie is shorter than the amount of time it takes for a New York City cab driver to blast his horn when the traffic light turns green. That means that when some complete, immoral, asshat says he’s a Harvard Alum he can’t back away by saying…. “oh I never said I graduated from the real Harvard.” Nope, not when it’s so easy to fact check his hubris (if he went to Harvard, he wouldn’t need me to supply a link to the definition of the word hubris but here it is. Say you’re welcome Danny!)

So what are the signs your Transactional versus Relational?

  1. You lie about how much money you raised when you pretended you were a VC just like you lied that you just raised $5 million dollars now that you’re pretending you’re a startup founder
  2. You call the fact that you were fired from Synteractive and netDecide as exits…. versus shit canned.
  3. You call your unspeekable (my first intentional misspelling ever) dumpster fire a successful exit.
  4. Your mother refers to you as her little scumbag.
  5. You fire a large number of your team members before they reach their 12 month stock vesting cliff.
  6. You fire your 3rd Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) in 2 years for non-performance, 2 days before you’d owe him a $35K over performance bonus and then go through 2 more CROs in just over a year.
  7. You fire employees for complaining about sexual harassment and then you say to the remaining employees of the company you retroactively founded with your husband, “This is our own private butcher shop and we can do whatever we want.”
  8. You take Venture Capital funding from small unsophisticated investors through crowdfunding and you buy a Tesla, send your kids to private school and buy a nice country-club home while your company is hemorrhaging cash!
  9. You lay off 40% of your employees and your co-founder bolts and you say that’s to position us for growth.
  10. Your past starts catching up with you so you bring in your wife as a retroactive co-founder because she has only started to destroy her reputation.

Transactional versus Relational Summary

The world is connected. Each time you betray someone you betray yourself. Unless you’re about to cheat someone of billions in one short con…. you’re better off making deals that serve both parties well… sometimes that even serve the other party better than you. Because Karma is the weight of all your actions…. good or bad lifting you up or crashing in on you over time. Eventually transactional actors drown under the weight of their short sighted deals.

Note: This post does not refer to any single person. It is an example of actions of a multitude of transactional people that may or may not exist. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead is pure coincidence or something like that.

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