Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

You’ve heard business people say, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Because you care about your business, everything about it is personal. The relationships you build, inside and outside your business, are your most important asset. Relationships matter.

Business is a team sport. As a leader, you are dependent on others for your success. You create a direction and context for action; you influence and inspire. Developing trusting, committed and powerful relationships with all stakeholders is a fundamental part of your job description.

An enlightened leader creates a culture where powerful business relationships can flourish. Aligning the culture around a purpose, core values and goals promotes trust and collaboration, enabling employees to take risks, learn from mistakes and adapt quickly, resulting in greater loyalty and a successful, growing enterprise.

An integral part of this culture includes a profound respect for and commitment to customers. Leaders must remain outward-looking, building strategic, partner-like relationships with core customers that help them succeed. Consistently delivering promised benefits that resolve short term needs, while also contributing to a customer’s progress and goal achievement, builds an enduring relationship. Rewards for customer commitment include recurring revenue, higher ROI on sales investment, exposure to innovation opportunities and strategic access to your customer’s senior leaders.

Innovative products, productive marketing and cost-effective operations are all valuable, but the secret to a thriving business is your relationships. Relationships matter.

What characteristics define your organization’s culture?
How are you nurturing your relationships?