interview by Gary Bradt, Ph.D.
Who: Tommy Spaulding, president of Spaulding Companies LLC
What: Author of It's Not Just Who You Know: Transform Your Life (and Your Organization) by Turning Colleagues and Contacts into Lasting, Genuine Relationships, a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today national bestseller
What's on his mind: "Leadership is a verb. You can be a great leader with great investments but if you don't have the right relationships with people, you will not be successful in the financial planning business."
1. How do you view the relationship between money and leadership?
If you have leadership on the right-hand side and money on the left, right in the center of those is relationships. In my book I spend a couple of chapters on relationships. I label them the "five floors" of relationships, with the first floor representing transactional relationships and the fifth floor representing lifelong customers and clients.
The latter represents genuine servant leader relationships. Most of us do business on the first floor. In the book I ask, "What if you did business on the fourth and fifth floor?" I did research on companies that work at that level, and the research showed their profits increased. Building deep, transformational relationships is the key, versus staying only at the transactional level.
2. What is the relationship between money and power?
Between money and power lies humility. I have worked with thousands of donors all over the world. What I love to see is people with great power and influence who bundle those traits with humility; that is the best combination. Plus, I look at it more as money and influence, versus power.
Money can have a negative or positive influence. I am all for money and wealth. After all, I spent 15 years working for nonprofits. The donors with wealth made the most difference, if they had pure hearts. I met lots of donors who had power, but had a negative influence because of their self-oriented agenda and personal insecurities. My experience says it is about 50-50. Fifty percent of those with money, power and influence use them to change the world. The other 50 percent focus more on changes that mostly benefit them.
3. If you were to advise financial planners on just one thing to inspire others to follow, what would that one thing be?
I have a concept called netgiving, as opposed to networking. People tell me I have a great network, yet I detest the very concept. I am an anti-networker, yet I am viewed as a great networker. How can that be?
To me, it is all about netgiving. That means building connections and relationships in your community, not just to build your business, because that way you will never get to the fifth floor of relationships. Instead, ask, "How can I develop relationships with my customers, and learn about them and their interests, and serve them through netgiving?" I built my contacts with folks around the world this way. I asked, "How can I serve them?
This leads to what I call ROR: Return on Relationship. If you focus on netgiving versus networking, others will turn around and help you. It is a switch you have to make, from networking to netgiving, in order to build lasting, meaningful, fifth-floor relationships.
Gary Bradt, Ph.D., is an author, clinical psychologist, leadership consultant, C-Suite executive coach and speaker on the topic of adapting to and leading through change. Contact him at www.GaryBradt.com.