This week’s Desert Island Discs featured a couple, the first duo to appear since the creators of Spitting Image, Peter Fluck and Robert Law, in February 1987. Kirsty’s guests this time were Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, Ant and Dec.

They’re not everyone’s cup of tea; I know several people who would gladly escort them to the island (islands, in fact, by the rules of DID) tomorrow but there is no doubting their success in peak time TV.

And in relationship terms they are extraordinary. They met aged 13 while starring in the CBBC show Byker Grove. Now 38, they have been close friends and work mates for over 25 years. And they still only live a few doors away from each other.

Understandably they were asked about the basis for this enduring friendship. Their response: “We trust each other, we respect each other and we make each other laugh.”

It’s refreshing to be reminded of such classic truths. This resonates in our private lives but, of course, Ant and Dec’s wisdom extends to our professional lives too. However fast and sophisticated our always on, digitally enabled, rapidly expanding world becomes, we will still only really want to work with people we know and trust.

Ant and Dec’s guide to successful relationship building may sound simple but, as we know, it isn’t. What they didn’t mention, I guess because to them it was implicit, was that the key to their relationship is understanding. Over the years they have spent the time, asked the questions and shared the discussions, with the result that they really know each other.

In business we don’t have 25 years to understand our customers, clients and colleagues. This inevitably presents challenges in establishing and maintaining rapport and trust. Most organisations do invest in relationship management but, in times where peak performance has to be the norm, a valuable contribution can come via experienced, independent third party expertise, helping to nurture more valuable, longer-term, fully functioning relationships.

So, thanks, from perhaps an unlikely source, for a timely confirmation of the importance of trust and respect in relationships.

And please let’s not forget the importance of making each other laugh in 2014

Happy New Year