Tom Mendoza, Vice Chairman of NetApp and one of my favourite business leaders with whom I’ve had the honour to work, often quotes Theodore Roosevelt and says, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Tom’s ability to lift people up when they are down or to stretch them when they are flying high is legendary in the IT business world. The reason why his CQ (Care Quotient) is off the charts is because he leads from the heart. In a world of exponentially increasing complexity and rapid commoditisation, it is our belief at WisdomMakers that your ability to succeed will be directly proportionate to your ability to lead with compassion, as exemplified by leaders like Tom Mendoza.
As your product/service gets pushed down the commodity curve, your emotional quotient (EQ), care quotient (CQ), relationship-building skills and ability to help your clients achieve THEIR goals become inversely more important and ultimately, your X factor. Because, in case you weren’t aware, by the time you walk in to see your clients, they know as much if not more than you about your own products/services, due to their access to freely available information and strong networks of online contacts. This means you’d better have something else to offer them.
Think about some of the best, most influential leaders you know. A common theme among them is invariably their care factor and ability to encourage with compassion and humility.
If you care about the people in your team, they will care about you, and they will look after your clients.
I once had lunch with Franco Belgiorno-Nettis (the Italian/Australian Industrialist who founded Transfield) in his private dining room, overlooking Sydney’s Circular Quay. While I was trying to win his business back on behalf of Qantas, there he was, walking around our table of five, pouring our wine and serving us bread rolls. This stunning act of servant leadership made a lasting impression on me that I will never forget.
Hey, if it was good enough for an eighty-something billionaire, then it’s certainly not beneath us to serve our teammates, customers and suppliers!
To increase your Care Quotient (CQ):
• Get up and serve a glass of water to your teammates during a meeting or to a client when they visit your office (trust me – it’s not common sense).
• We know you buy your customers coffee, lunch and drinks, but when is the last time you bought the same for your account team? Ask them about their family, kids, partners, loved ones and don’t discuss work. Your team won’t forget it.
• BE KIND. Everyone is fighting a battle you are unaware of – from your CEO to your client to your seat mate.
“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.” Chinese Proverb