Early in my career, a high level executive and mentor gave me a piece of advice I’ve never forgotten: “Care about a client’s kids, and they’ll be your client for life.” I was reminded of that on Friday night when Kathleen and I visited with Mark Jeske, Milwaukee pastor and speaker from Time of Grace Ministries. Mark was speaking at an event in LA, and we went over to his hotel to catch up. Once we sat down, one of his first questions was about our daughters: “How are Kelsey and Bailey?” Mark has only met Bailey once briefly, and never Kelsey. But it was the first question out of his mouth.
When people really care about you, they don’t just care about you, they care about what’s important to you. I admit this is a lesson that’s been difficult for me, because it takes time and effort to learn that much about co-workers, clients, bosses, or vendors.
And let me add that it’s not about manipulation. I can tell within 30 seconds if you’re asking just to get something out of me. But if you’re sincere, it makes an impact.
Here’s a question: Leaders, do you know the names of your team member’s spouses? Children? Do you know their favorite hobby? Sport? Anything else? Have you ever invited your co-workers into your home?
The bottom line is that if you’re pitching a project, meeting a prospective business relationship, leading a team, or just touching base with an old friend – take the time to learn what’s important to them, and ask them about it.
As leadership expert John Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”