After the event I asked him if he found the roundtable valuable. His response, “I enjoyed being a part of such a diverse group and would be glad to participate in another if you choose to schedule one.” That’s saying a lot considering he was gracious enough to skip the first period of a hockey playoff game for his hometown New York Rangers — a game for which he had tickets. The fact that he stayed to the point that I had to remind him he had a hockey game to go to, I believe says a lot about his level of commitment to this industry and his caliber of character.
Commitment And Character
In fact, character was one of the most common — and unexpected — topics discussed throughout the night. Whether we started talking about innovation or corporate culture, the discussion consistently circled back to people — hiring the right people, putting the right people in positions where they can be successful, removing roadblocks which get in the way of people being able to do their jobs, and so on.
Sometimes we lose sight of the notion that companies are built by people and people build relationships with customers. As I have interacted with members of industry, I continually hear people discussing strategic partnerships, which they state as being built on trust, communication, and transparency. However, strategic partnerships are built by people who are good at building relationships, because ultimately, as one attendee stated, “People buy from people, because a sale is ultimately about leveraging relationships.”
Want to win in the market? Find and hire high-character people. They will not only be good at building relationships with companies you want to do business with, they will have the insight to steer you clear of the companies which will be more trouble than they are worth. Lastly, work hard to reward and retain these folk and other members of your team you deem to be top talent. If you take the approach of one former executive I know who believed people should just be thankful they have a job, then you can expect to have a team filled with perennial underachievers. Though, I am sure they will be thankful for having a job.