Think differently, act consistently to achieve your McFreedom.

I officiated at a wedding recently for a friend, a scary prospect but a great experience. It got me thinking about the importance of investing in relationships and what a return that investment has for you and for your business. There are two aspects here for me. The first is about investing in your business relationships, in those people you’re working with, your suppliers, your customers. Most importantly, I wanted to talk to you about investing in your team and really getting to know them as individuals.

I worked for a guy called Andrew Taylor. He was just fantastic. He was my supervisor when I was a restaurant manager way back in the day in Bedford. I was always amazed throughout his career; he became chief exec of the UK business. It didn’t matter how many people he met or how high he rose in the company, he always knew people’s names, he knew their partners’ names, he knew their children’s names, he knew what they really enjoyed doing when they weren’t at work. It was just an amazing talent that I felt that he had. It made people feel so special that he remembered them and he knew a little bit about them.

That’s what I loved about him that he really did make each person feel special. When we get into our businesses, and as our business grows, there is a tendency to not get to know the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth person in the business. Obviously, we knew the first few who started with us, but we moved further and further away.

It’s like I wrote in last week’s blog when you’re recruiting, ‘You’re not employing a body. You’re employing a heart and a mind.’ People need to feel that you know them as a person. When you get to that point where they feel that you know them, they will follow you that much more. You invest in getting to know them, they will invest in helping you and your business, to be successful. Business relationships are hugely important. Knowing your team, knowing what their aspirations are, is massively important.

The other side is of course your personal relationships. Take this recent wedding, there’s a saying that you spend way more time in planning the wedding than planning the rest of your lives, the marriage. That’s probably true. There must have been goodness knows how much planning went into this wedding, but what’s really important is the investment in each other ongoing. Again, with business owners, sometimes we delay investing in our other halves and families because we’re doing all of this for them, we’re working really hard for them. All these long hours that we’re putting in, all these school concerts that we’re missing, or nights out with friends that we’re missing, it’s all for the people that we love the most.

The truth is that the people that we love the most actually want time. They want us to invest a little bit of time in them. Nobody ever stood around a grave and said, ‘Oh, but he was a great business man. He made lots of money’, or, ‘You know, she worked so hard. She worked every hour god sent.’ Nobody says that; they’re always talking about you as a person. They’re always talking about how loving you were or what a great father or mother or brother or sister. They’re the things that are really important to people

I’ve had two really great events in the very recent past. One was my book launch, where the power of personal relationships for me really came to the fore. A big thank you for your support with the book launch and getting ‘Simple, Logical, Repeatable’ to number one. Thank you so much for that. It really for me, showed the strength of relationships and the importance and the power of having those strong relationships in your business.

And then there was the wedding where people came from all over the world to France for this couple. How much must they have loved them to do that? How much must they have felt that the couple had invested in them, for them to invest so much to come all that way?

Invest in relationships and they will pay dividends for you, for your business, for your life, and obviously for your family and friends. If you want to have great relationships in your future you need to start building them now and you need to consistently nurture them.

Do one thing this week: make someone feel special, take your other half out for a date night or take an elderly relative out for afternoon tea.