Are your client relationships more like a rope or a string?
To understand the comparison, first consider the definition. "A rope is a group of yarns, plies, or strands that are twisted or braided together into a larger and stronger form."
Clients want less suppliers, not more. A relationship that is more like a rope than a string is much stronger and helps to reduce overall client risk. Multiple relationships create greater opportunities for cross-selling and for leveraging referrals.
"The twist of the strands in a twisted or braided rope serves not only to keep a rope together, but enables the rope to more evenly distribute tension among the individual strands. Without any twist in the rope, the shortest strand(s) would always be supporting a much higher proportion of the total load."
Think of your strongest client relationship. How many internal contacts have relationships with client contacts? Are your internal contacts at multiple levels or just one? How many client contacts do you have in their organization? Are you connected at multiple levels?
Relationships can indeed be mapped and measured. The first number represents the number of internal levels and the second represents the number of levels on the client side.
1x1: A relationship is single-threaded on both sides, meaning only one person in your organization is tied to one person in the customer's organization. This is the riskiest of all relationships. If either person leaves, the customer is in jeopardy and you will be starting all over with the new person.