The Most Powerful Trait of Great Business Leaders

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The Most Powerful Trait of Great Business Leaders

“If you are to win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend”

~ Abraham Lincoln

The Power of Perception

People talk. And when they do, those around them who care about them listen, and when they do, business empires either grow or come tumbling down! Today, I saw a close friend’s social media update praising a certain Movie title…at the earliest opportunity, I got myself a copy.

A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on

Mark Twain

The ‘believability’ of a friend or a loved one is so great. They easily share your pain and frustrations and want to experience your joy when you excel. As I write this, a damning message is being spread on at least two Whatsapp groups of which I am part of about a friend’s dishonesty. This is not the first time that it is happening about this guy. Now, I must confess that I had great admiration about this individual for a while, but these two incidences have made me think again.

The other side of the coin

Let us flip the switch for a minute. Suppose the message being spread about this guy was positive, espousing how he wowed his “audiences” over and over again. Supposing these messages were celebrating the goodness, creativity, sensitivity, ‘innovativeness’ and care that this guy showed…chances are that he would not be forgotten for a very long time.

It is all about reputation. It is all about perception, and it boils down to a brand. Your brand is not what you are saying about yourself. Your brand is actually what your audience is saying about you!

[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”card” position=””]”Your brand is not what you are saying about you but what your audience is”[/clickandtweet]

The Biggest Downfall

This is it. If I look at my audience with shortsightedness, just looking at what I can get from them now, I lose them forever. If you treat a young boy today with less attention than you would a person with a greater purchasing power, you have missed it. That boy remembers how you made him fee. Maya Angelou is famously quoted to have said:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

The Powerful Trait

I must have read a story of a gas station owner. His direct income of course if from selling oil and gas products at his station. However, he took a very interesting approach which is a powerful as it gets. He would take young men and women in apprenticeships and train them thoroughly. Later on, these young adults would get executive positions as they advanced in their careers. This gas station owner built a reputation so great that very many young people longed to be apprenticed at his place.

In the meantime, those who passed through his hands became so successful that they bought their own vehicles…and this is where the rubber meets the road: When they wanted to fuel their cars, they would go nowhere else but the old man’s place…and of course they would go along with friends that they recommended. In turn, the business of the old man gained so great a reputation and growth and revenue. The secret is not in the direct sale…the secret is in caring for the person, not just wanting to get from them in the now!

It is about the long wait. It is about maturity. It is looking at your “audience” now, not wanting to get anything from them now while you are giving them wowing value. This means that you treat them with care as humans and you watch out for them. The ROI in terms of time is not immediate, it is in the distant future. This is a long sale…very tedious and arduous ask but when it starts paying back, an empire has been built, unshakable.


  • This does not mean that you become a “Yes Man” pleasing anything and everything that comes your way. Instead, you choose to become a man/woman who invests in giving value…both directly and indirectly related to the present sale.
  • You are not necessarily the jack of all trades but you are specialized in your niche. Whenever you cannot handle, you have great references to give (which is also an intricate art, lest your reputation is soiled by one that you have recommended)

The Secret

They treat customers like a child. When you are raising a child, you are not seeing the benefits of the things you are instilling in them right then and there. You will actually see the fruits of your efforts in your grand children. A business that has grandchildren of customers is an awesome one.

So here is the thing: In life, interviews are not only in board rooms with shortlisted candidates. Interviews are carried out daily when we interact with people. In their subconscious, they record how we make them feel…and if on a consistent basis they record the indirect care that is not attached to the sale that we are giving them, then we can be sure to have business with them for generations.

The question is: How intentional are we about wowing our audiences beyond the direct sale we are making today?