Bert Sadtler - President
A company’s wealth and success is measured in a store, within a retail chain, in a corporate structure and on Wall Street based on wealth. The scorecard is money.
“Money talks and BS walks.”
It has been said that “He who dies with the most money, wins”. Think about how many “wealth managers” do you know? I bet it is at least several.
Is financial wealth the only or the best measurement of wealth in today’s business world? We know the only constant is change and with the constant changes in business, are there some other measurements of wealth we can focus on?
Let’s look at “WEALTH” from three perspectives:
1) “Wealth” from financial related assets
2) “Wealth” from information
3) “Wealth” from your network of contacts/connections
The Wealth of Assets:
During a recent Google search on “wealth”, I found the following:
“Wealth is about more than money: It’s about assets. Assets being the stuff that you own: your car, your house, your collection of Rembrandt paintings, your Cartier watch. Cash money is an asset too – so include your bank account on the asset side of the equation.
Your wealth = The stuff you own (your assets) – the stuff that you owe (your debt).”
As everyone knows, if it is on the internet, it must be true. Right?
Shouldn’t the discussion of wealth extend beyond just the financial conversation?
The Wealth of Information:
Once upon a time, the value of a businessperson was measured largely by the information they knew. Some felt it was their information to protect in order to continue to keep the individual as a valuable member of the business community. After all, “information is power”.
As the internet became part of the fabric of everyday life, data and information became available to anyone who could access a keyboard and monitor. Want to make a repair to your home, just look it up on YouTube. Need a mechanic? Just “Google it”.
No longer is a businessperson able to define their value simply by the data they know. It is much more about the businessperson’s problem solving ability and critical-thinking. In fact, business experts today are referred to as “thought-leaders”.
We could say that the person who relied on what data they possess is less of a measure of wealth today compared to an earlier time. With technological change, data and information have become a commodity.
With the ”law of change”, when one thing goes down in value or down in importance, generally, something else goes up in value or up in importance.
With the value of data declining, is the value of connections on the rise?
The Wealth of Human Connections:
In spite of all the recent technological advancement, human relationships in business carries more weight than ever.
As an example, several decades ago, making a business “cold call” was a natural way to drive sales revenue. Today, most businesses have locked doors and no way in without your having an appointment. In order to obtain an appointment, you first need to have developed some level of a relationship.
People want to do business with people they know and people they trust. Technology has given everyone and anyone the ability to send email blasts, text blasts and make robo-calls 24X7. In spite of all of this access to the prospective purchasing audience thanks to technology, nothing gets an appointment faster than having established personal familiarity and trust.
Technology can enhance and accelerate business, but human interaction still trumps it all. For example, LinkedIn has helped companies and individuals to network faster and more efficiently, but the networking takes place when people meet and connect. LinkedIn is a tool. No more no less.
The value of connections can make the older person more valuable than the younger business professional. It once was because the older person had accumulated more data and more information. As previously discussed, times have changed and everyone has data.
Today, the older person has had more time and more opportunity to develop strong connections and strong business relationships. In reality, some have done much better with this than others. But isn’t that a part of the rule of change. Nothing stays the same, you have to remain agile and while some things go down in importance and in value, others go up in importance and in value.
For the business professionals who have invested in building relationships, they find themselves in a valuable position today.
Think about it, how many internal business conversations include a discussion about: “Who do we have who knows someone that our partner/competitor/prospective customer knows?
Just knowing people isn’t enough. Do you have relationships with people of influence? Have you developed a two-way relationship of give and take? Will they return your call? Have you made them comfortable enough to speak with you in confidence?
Are we saying that today’s business wealth can also be measured by connections & relationships?
Today’s businesses need growth. Growth occurs through the penetration of new markets, from revenue in existing markets, through teaming, through partnering and through acquisitions. All of these happen between human beings. It becomes a lot harder when none of the human beings involved knows each other. It has a much higher degree for success when there are established human connections.
Are we paying enough attention to the wealth of human connections? It is a differentiator between business professionals. Clearly, I couldn’t purchase your address book of contacts and suddenly make them my contacts. They have no value unless I have invested the time and developed a business relationship on an individual basis. Therefore, unlike data today, human connections are not a commodity.
The good news is that technology tools provide the vehicle to develop human connections and grow your wealth as a business professional. Example: LinkedIn.
Technology also provides just as many reasons not to. It would be fairly easy to spend the business day in front of a keyboard and monitor doing daily business related tasks just to keep up with the demands of the day.
What are you doing to be a wealthier with your human connections?
The options are limitless.
Several examples include:
– Researching local industry events and attending for the purpose of making new contacts
– Scheduling meetings within your current network and asking to be connected to people they know who are “well connected and well regarded”
– Asking your contacts what you can do to help them
It takes effort to grow financial wealth. It took effort to acquire data and information. Today, it takes effort to grow your human connections. Is that the kind of wealth you see as valuable? What are you doing about it?