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Keynote Inspires Attendees to Build Genuine Relationships to Maximize Success

October 10, 2013

Tommy Spaulding, a world-renowned speaker on leadership, provided an inspiring discussion on why building genuine and authentic relationships will maximize the success of your company and your personal life during the Thursday general session at ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.

“The quality of our relationships determines whether we simply reach a goal or inspire greatness,” Spaulding said. “The success of any organization is grounded in the formation of sustainable relationships.

Click here to watch a recording of Thursday’s General Session. Spaulding’s keynote starts at the 54:50 mark.

During his presentation, Spaulding illustrated the importance of building sustainable relationship capital throughout your organization so internal teams maximize their potential and external constituencies and stakeholders share your vision.

He also mentioned that although economists talk of return on investment (ROI), Spaulding said that profit and relationships are interdependent.

“Return on Relationships or ROR” is the currency we should focus on rather than solely on ROI, because if we are truly focusing on relationships, the bottom line goals come more easily,” Spaulding said.

To drive home his point, Spaulding shared several personal stories ranging from his struggles with dyslexia and getting through high school and college to eventually becoming chief executive officer of Up With People, an American education organization whose stated mission is to bridge cultural barriers and create global understanding through service and a musical show. He’s also written a best-selling book titled It’s Not Just Who You Know.

Spaulding discussed the many obstacles he faced to eventually earn his MBA and how the deep and authentic relationships he built helped him achieve his goals.

To exemplify his point on the importance of relationships, Spaulding offered the story of when he and his wife were looking for a nanny to watch their children. After going through an extensive interview process, Spaulding and his wife settled on a college graduate.

Things were all set until his wife’s cousin called and asked if they’d consider her friend for the nanny position. Spaulding spoke with the woman’s mother who described her as a good kid who made some bad choices. The mother sent a picture of the girl, who had several piercings and many tattoos.

“I told my wife there’s no way she could be a nanny for our children,” Spaulding said.

Thinking his mind was already decided, he called the girl, but an expected 15-minute talk turned into a two-hour conversation. Spaulding recollected the girl explaining all the abuse tragedy she’d endured.

“Every time something happened in her life, she would get tattoo,” Spaulding said. “I could here how genuine she was in her voice. Her references all told me the same thing that she was a good kid with a bad past.”

Spaulding and his wife eventually decided to give the girl an opportunity as the nanny. The chance evolved into a life-long relationship and Spaulding walked the woman down the aisle during her wedding two months ago.

“I love her like family,” Spaulding said. “I don’t see her tattoos and piercings, but I see her heart.”

Spaulding said the same philosophy on building relationships can be applied to the title industry. Two of his friends are title professionals and Spaulding has learned about the business through conversations with them. In a service-driven industry, it’s the relationships with customers that determine success.

“Like it or not, your business is a commodity,” he said. “Products may be different, but at the end of the day you are a commodity. What differentiates you? How you win and keep business are the relationships you build.”

He encouraged attendees to think about the most important people in your business, to write down their names and ask how well you know them and how well they know you.

“You need to have a genuine spirit and be authentic,” Spaulding said. “Building deep relationships matter and will help you transition from having transactional relationships to transformational relationships. When you open your heart, it not only transforms your business, but also your life.”



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