This month I read Relationomics by Randy Ross, which as you may have guessed from the title talks about the intersection of relationships and success/failure in business. In fact one of the first things the book talks about is how when organizations prioritize people before profits, there’s a great payout both relationally and economically. Of course many of us know there’s a connection between how people are treated, if people are treated as humans, if people are respected etc. and the success/failure of a company and/or its leader and the reputation it has. It’s not a new issue that some companies aren’t really in it for their employees, they don’t have a great (or even average) culture to support their employees, and the company and employees clearly don’t have an interest in investing in their customers, especially their long term ones. We’ve talked about all of this in various posts in the past, including in last week’s post, but this is one of those topics that isn’t likely to go away in my lifetime or yours, and this book adds some good insights to help further the conversation.
One of the things I really liked about this book were a couple of the ways he defined or approached some terms that we hear and may not always want to work on or have concerns about. The book defined transparency as “the willingness to be known by others.” It also shared that one of the biggest purposes of delegation can be (should be) to help others grow. It also shared that the goal of communication should be to seek understanding, resolve issues and move forward together. It can be intimidating to add transparency to our companies and our work, especially if we’re struggling, but I think most of our issues around transparency have to do with fears and the negative way that transparency is being approached by many companies, or even back to school when we were told to “show our work” at math. But if we’re truly in a healthy organization, it’s good to be known to each other so that we can support each other and bring the best of what we can offer to the table, rather than being forced into a position we hate and really aren’t good at and aren’t making progress at learning.
Directly connected with all of that is the idea the book shared about how you’ve got the choice to own the relationship with each customer. If you think about it like having a dollar bill in your hand, you can choose to do a lot of things with it: you can put it in your pocket or wallet and keep it there, you can rub it around in the dirt, you can use it to buy a snack or beverage, you can invest it, you can shred it, and you can throw it out a window while you’re driving. Two of those most people would point out as being a bad idea, and truly wasting money. The same is true for customer relationships: you can choose how you interact with customers, how you treat customers who have been with you for a long time, and the types of interactions customers have with the business.
Which brings us to the last point I want to highlight for today, and that’s regarding the choice we have to make about how we lead as the owner of our business. Do we commit to deal with each other personally, do we respectfully interact with each other, do we give frequent feedback to employees/team members that helps them gain direction and perspective and details, do we intentionally invest and engage or intentionally ignore as much as possible, do we ignore reality, do we explore our creative options, do we have humility and willingness to learn and grow, are we committed working together with unified purpose and both shared and individual responsibility? None of this is raised with the goal to shame, but rather to give hope that there are businesses out there who are getting on board and investing in both leadership and people who are interested in working together so that everyone can be successful and feel as though they’re part of something important and special.
What about you? What are you creating through the relationships you have, and how are those relationships impacting your bottom line and the success, happiness, stability and contribution of your people?