I have heard Ken Blanchard say numerous times, “Profitability and success within an organization is the applause for doing things right on building positive relationships”. In other words, focusing on relationships will drive results.

My leadership coach once told me that I need to shift my paradigm and practices on how I spend my time. I was spending the majority of my time on business performance related issues, finances, and fire fighting, as opposed to people. He said I should be spending about 70% of my time on coaching, developing, and building relationships with people. Long story short, he was exactly right. As I started to shift the use of my time, business results flourished, and I found my work to be much more rewarding as I focused on adding value to people.

True servant leaders drive relationships with not only employees, but with all stakeholders of an organization. I recently had a unique opportunity to speak at a client’s Customer Leadership Conference. This is an annual event that my client hosts for all of their customers across North America. They use this opportunity to truly provide value to their customers and in the process build extremely strong relationships with them.

Yes, they spent some time sharing information on their capabilities, as you would normally see at these events. But they spent the majority of their time talking about the process of being a visionary company, their values, trends in the overall industry, and their journey of building a culture of servant leadership. Their company chaplain was also present sharing with customers how the organization takes care of their stakeholder’s spiritual well-being.

The discussions with customers at this conference were far deeper than normal client-customer conversations.  Relationships were taken to a new level.  This organization’s clients could truly feel that they were being cared for and were receiving value that they could not get anywhere else.

It would come as no surprise that this client is extremely successful, and significantly growing even in light of very difficult economic times.

How much time are you spending building relationships and providing value to people?  Is it 70%?

I will assure you that shifting the focus to spending the majority of your time coaching and building relationships with people will be far more inspiring and rewarding work for you, and will also drive results for your organization. 

Mark Deterding