Monday, June 18, 2007

The Importance of Relationships

On today's Houston Business Show I interviewed some bright minds in business. My subject is the importance of relationships. I believe that relationships are the single most important factor to success in business. I asked each of the panelists -- Robbie Adair of Houston Manufacturers, business attorney Wayne Isaacks and Ralph Fain who is a Merger and Acquisition expert (both found here); and financial expert Blake Barnett.

On my part, the single most important relationship I can point to in business is my friend Mike Richards. I have known Mike for almost 30 years and met him when he was running for statewide office. He did extremely well in the insurance and media businesses (and also hosted a popular radio show for many years in Houston), and is now the President of the International Bible Society.

Mike has always been an inspiration to me. He grew up in poverty in East Texas, often sharing a bed with siblings while growing up. He told me stories of having to hold the door to the car whenever his dad made a turn. He went to college on an athletic scholarship (like me, he went to Abilene Christian University). Early on he recognized his ability to create relationships and leveraged it successfully in the highly profitable insurance field. He went on to become one of the most successful people whom I personally know.

Mike always made observations about individuals that were most perceptive and those played a strategic role in how he conducted business. Today when I negotiate with someone, consider doing business, or just ponder my commerce in general, Mike is something of a "Dicky Fox" character (photo) to me from the movie Jerry Maguire. Maguire would always remember some useful information from Dicky at crucial times through out the movie. In the same way, I will often interact with someone and remember something Mike told me.
"Relationship, relationship, relationship; those are the three most essential elements to business" he would say. I believe he is absolutely correct.

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