Today’s guest blogger is my friend, Dr. Samson Gichuki
“One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” – John C. Maxwell.
When you hear the names Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, or Herb Kelleher, success is likely the first thing that comes to mind. While these individuals are often hailed as self-made successes, the truth is their accomplishments were the result of more than their individual efforts. Whether it was Zuckerberg with Facebook, Gates with Microsoft, or Kelleher with building Southwest into an airline powerhouse, none of these successful people achieved their goals alone. Their success was the result of good relationships and effective teams.
While your skills, art, or profession may enable you to initiate success, it is the people around you who can compound your results and make your achievements effective and lasting. To attract people who can help compound your success, you need to become an attractive person yourself.
Growing up in a family that owned and operated a public transport business in Kenya made me admire the business culture at Southwest Airlines. Having started as a local airline operating only in Texas, it is impressive that Southwest has risen to the top of a highly competitive industry today. By the end of 2022, Southwest has enjoyed 44 consecutive years of profitability, the lowest employee voluntary turnover, the lowest number of customer complaints of any industry, as high as 85% employee satisfaction, and has never had layoffs or furloughs in its history. How has this been possible? The answer lies in one of its founders, Herb Kelleher.
Mr. Kelleher’s effectiveness in building a business empire was attributed to a few great personal qualities he possessed. However, the one which tops the list was his ability to prioritize employees. He valued his people. Kelleher believed that happy employees would lead to happy customers, thereby building an attractive business culture where people thrived. What’s more interesting is that Mr. Kelleher credits his mother, Ruth Moore, for nurturing him into an attractive entrepreneur by mentoring him on a wide array of business and, most importantly, how to treat people.
Whether it is interacting with other people one-on-one or your business trying to get and maintain customers, remember an important fact, people are always on the lookout for attractive people to work with or work alongside.
# 1: Do you care? – The empathy question
Maya Angelou, poet, singer, Hollywood’s first female black director, and activist shared a valuable lesson she learned. She said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I agree with her; people indeed significantly impact us when they affect our feelings, negatively or positively. Of the many emotions you can evoke, caring is the most positive and deepest feeling you can elicit in people to find you the most attractive. This is true because, regardless of status and position, people have a long-lived desire to know that people care for them.
To answer yes, to this first foundational question on the relational check-up, you must genuinely value people. This means loving people regardless of their status. Loving people is possible only when you recognize and appreciate people’s worth and unique qualities as individuals. Without loving people, including strangers, it is impossible to care genuinely. Only when you value people can you show empathy and respect and practice active listening. Listening has a straightforward way to show people you care. It tells people you care about what people care about. And it’s when you show people that you care, then and only then will they care about what you have to say. Caring for people opens the door to building trust.
# 2: Can I trust you? – The integrity question
Unlike what we see on TV, in a world full of tension and distrust, people desire and want to live in a relaxed ecosystem. Imagine if I made you sit on a seat that was so weak and had a high risk of breaking; how much stress would you be under? Similarly, dealing with people you can’t trust causes us to be under immense stress. So the quicker you build trust with people, the more effectively you work with them.
How do you build and sustain trust with people? By being a person of integrity. Dwight D. Eisenhower highlighted the importance of integrity when he said, “Without integrity, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” The absence of integrity in any relationship means everything will be met with suspension; No other virtues can be expressed free of fear. Integrity is established when truth and transparency are upheld in a relationship. When trust is established under the substratum of integrity, it is easier to help people.
# 3: Can you help me? – The value question
The successful and yet-successful people have one thing in common, they all need help. People naturally look around for people to help them, even those we call self-made. By asking can you help me, people are simply asking whether you can add value to them? Being a person of value means that you contribute positively to the world around you and can positively impact people.
In addition to answering yes (in people’s minds) to the first two questions people ask, you will be a person who can help people if you; first, possess an abundance mindset, which allows you to know that there are endless opportunities to add value to others, and second, possess a serving heart.
In summary: As you examine the metrics of effectiveness, I would like to repeat one important idea I mentioned above. Your skills, art, or profession enable you to initiate success; people compound your results by making what you do more effective and last longer. To ensure you are the right person people want to come around to achieve greatness, answer yes to the three questions we covered by valuing people, having integrity, and always being ready to serve others.
You can learn more about Sam and read more content from him here.