As someone who is always being asked to give talks – for example, my latest in London for the Institute of Association Management – www.iofam.org.uk – there is something different in the air. Twice now, I have felt the need by way of my introduction, to deviate from my patter and comment on the RECESSION. It’s almost as if the talk would be incomplete without it – or possibly irrelevant.
So what is there to say that hasn’t already been said? Well, my take is this: the trouble with economic recession and perhaps depression is that it inevitably leads to emotional recession and depression. And this is the problem, period, with all businesses that are purely economically driven: the bottom line is the bottom line.
You see, the problem with money is that we can make it, but – it can be taken away – by the Government, by fraudsters, by inflation, by incompetence. You name it. It’s a win-lose situation. One minute we’re on top – the next we’re in the vale of despond. In short, money always seems to induce panic.
I think therefore that it is very important always to see money as a by-product of our activities; a metric, if you like, one metric that tells us something important about what we are doing. But it does not tell us the crucial thing.
We need to focus on the one area that cannot be subtracted or taken away from us – by anybody or anything. What is that? Value. By adding value to our customers and clients and patients we cannot lose. And for proof of this, think simply of those who are your nearest and dearest: when you add value to their lives it never goes away – it is with them forever.
And here’s the thing: the element of value is relationship. It is through our relationships that we can endure and survive and prosper.
We need to address two critical relationships: first, our relationship with our self. Second, our relationship with others. Curiously, if we do not value our self first, then valuing others will be extraordinarily difficult, if not downright impossible. This cultivation of our self is what energizes and motivates – gives life to us even in the most tricky of circumstances. And when we do it – it cannot be taken away.
From that it is a short step to valuing the relationship – with our staff, our suppliers and our customers. When we have that relationship, the money starts to look after itself.