Sam Kaufman, CEO of At the construction levelBusiness Coach, Podcast Host
Relationships should take precedence over results. I know, I know – this is surprising from a businessman and entrepreneur, but listen to me. I’m not saying that results don’t matter. Results to do important, and they are critical to the success and growth of your business.
That said, do you know what else is critical to the long-term success and growth of your business? Do you want to know how to achieve results? Do you understand why some companies build great teams and others can’t keep a good employee? The answer is relationships.
Building connections with your team is essential.
Building trusting relationships with your team gives you the superpower to enforce results through your vision. People are no longer interested in staying somewhere for the long term for the salary. The opportunity to make money online is so abundant that people can stop working for you in an instant and match their salary.
So, how do you keep great people? You build a great relationship and you share a vision big enough that their success is in it. They trust you because you trust them; they listen to you because you listen to them; and they crush it for you because you crush it for them.
Building relationships is arguably the most important skill an entrepreneur can acquire if they want to grow a real business. You must have the ability to form, maintain, nurture and grow relationships. Soft skills are so important and so undervalued. Soft skills such as empathy, compassion, responsibility and honesty are what drives a team from OK to good and beyond to great.
There are many useful ways to build relationships with your team, but I’m going to share a few that I find essential.
• Meet regularly one-on-one with team members. Whether you meet once a month or quarterly will depend on the size of your team, but regular personal check-ins that are not related to day-to-day activities are critical. Keep this meeting light. Ask about goals and family, and ask if there’s anything they’d like to discuss with you.
• Also check in during team meetings. During early team meetings, keep an eye on where everyone is “checking in” for five to 10 minutes. How was their weekend? Are there any highlights from last week? How are their families? Make sure there is a relational moment leading up to the meeting to shed light on the fact that life outside of work is valuable for everyone.
• Protect your time, but don’t be unavailable. We’re all busy, but being able to make time for someone who needs an ear means a lot. Don’t be too inflexible with your schedule to care.
External relationships are just as important.
Relationships are also the cornerstone of long-term successful customer relationships. In addition to building a great team internally, as an entrepreneur you need to understand the ebb and flow of external relationships. Did you know that it is significantly more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing customers? How do you earn this customer loyalty? You understand how to nurture a long-term relationship.
The best method in my company for building customer relationships is honest communication. Share with your customers. Share your story, where you come from, who you are and where you are going. Share employee profiles so customers get to know the people they do business with, except for a phone number and email address.
Don’t forget your values along the way.
When decisions are made in my organization, the very first question to answer is, “Does this align with our core values?” Our core values are designed to protect, maintain and nurture internal and external relationships. Our values create an environment of relational attitudes. Core values are the foundation and structure with which a company maintains a certain attitude and behavioral system. Fulfilling roles and responsibilities is a necessary part of any job within an organization. This keeps the wheels turning. Maintaining and nurturing values and relationships is what keeps those wheels from squeaking.
I wish more entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs understood that people are the lifeblood of any organization. Your customer base, team and partners are all people, just like you. Get out there, build your business, build your life, but remember, you also need to build those relationships and make them your priority. Thus success becomes a natural result.
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