Fostering strong business relationships

Jan. 1, 2020
As much as possible, do business with those who share your values.

Some time ago, a good friend gave me some advice. “As much as possible, do business with those who share your values.” That phrase continues to echo in my mind. It causes me an increased appreciation and respect for some key people whom I interact with as a result of my chosen career.

Virtually every topic you will read about in this issue, or frankly every issue you deal with in business, involves relationships with other people. We tend to focus so much attention on business development, acquisition, sales growth, market share, business performance, costs, profit, new technologies, and so on. We have business relationships that are a key component to get the results we seek. I include industry relationships, in other words, those whom we interact with through industry activities and communication, in that category. In some of these relationships, we strive to live up to our commitments and look to the other party to do the same, thus finding mutual benefit. In the best relationships, we gain trusted friends whom we really care about. We go to even greater lengths to show care and concern for each other, and strive even more to assist each other.

Recently, Matt Ohrnstein unexpectantly passed away. Matt was a true pillar within our industry, one whose vast activities included orchestrating the annual MSO Symposium at NACE. Such a loss has a way of causing one to step back and consider what is truly important. It’s easy to bring up the typical phrases — talk about his great wife, family and life outside of the collision industry. While that certainly existed, there is more to it. It is about relationships, care and concern for others. It is about doing the right thing. It is about helping others succeed. It is about not being threatened by competition or significant change, but instead rising up to achieve a greater result. It is about helping improve the quality of life for others we interact with. It is about seeking the good and the potential in people and helping them develop it.

I bring this message to remind each of us of our role in this brief time we share together. As leaders within our businesses, the industry and our communities, we have the opportunity to contribute to others. We have the responsibility to help others, including in their personal growth. As business leaders, it is up to us to help those on our staff grow and prosper. Among the greatest gifts we can give is the opportunity for a greater future.

As we immerse ourselves in our business activities, which are changing at an increasingly accelerated rate, let us not overlook the importance and value of people.

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