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Relationships vs. the Bottom Line

When I think of the term “strong personality,” I tend to think negative. I think bossy, rude, hard to work with, not fun to be around and difficult.

Lately I’ve realized that I have a strong personality. It’s hard to admit. However, I think I’m the opposite of the characteristics I described. I want to form friendships, build bonds, find common ground, hear other people’s thoughts and ideas and have a good time in the process.

People like me don’t really see why people wouldn’t choose to be this way. Why be all business, when you can get amazing things done and have fun?

I’m not sure why or how I’m the way I am or how my personality developed, but I am learning slowly that some people just don’t appreciate it. Some people want to focus on the bottom line and nothing else. No joking, no one liners, no getting to know each other and certainly no standing ovations or high fives. No hugs, no touchy feelyness, no rounds of kumbayah and certainly no celebrations … because to my polar opposites, business is business – and insulting others or causing a rift in a team doesn’t matter to them if they’re getting their way.

I definitely know that there is a time and a place for everything, and that money makes the world go ‘round and that a lovefest necessarily doesn’t. But, my point is pretty simple. Building relationships is like building a house of cards. You do it one by one and rely on all cards to keep that house up.

We’re all living and breathing, have feelings, emotions, past experiences and straight up DNA that determines who we are and how we act. We can choose to not build relationships, but that house of cards, will not be very strong. In a town as big, yet as small as the one in which I live, everybody knows everybody in some weird way.

People are loyal to each other, and people’s perceptions are their realities. If you are known for being a jerk, or unethical or just a little tiny bit not so nice, that house of cards will fall time and time again because your good and bad relationships are what will determine your fate.

One of the basic examples I can give is the restaurant industry. I firmly believe that a restaurant’s destiny is directly related to its level of service. I’ll use the locally owned restaurant in Tallahassee, the Red Elephant (http://www.redelephantpizza.com/) as a real-life example.

They serve pizza (possibly the best ever), pasta, salads, grilled items and much more. I have been a fan since the day they opened. I love their laid-back ambiance, the game room for my daughter and the overall sense of fun there. I’ve never, ever had my order wrong or had bad service. I always enjoy my food. I’ve never had an empty glass. I’ve never had a server that hasn’t smiled, said please and thank you and checked on me more than enough.

Let’s take it a step further. The manager, Brian, has noticed that I enjoy the restaurant. He introduced himself and remembers my name and my daughter’s name. He gives me a hug every time I stop in. Every time I go there, I consider it a great experience, and always look forward to going back.

How many places offer that kind of service? What do I do in return for the Red Elephant? I bring my friends and family there as much as possible. I refer other people there. I use them for catering and take out, and I have nothing but praise for them. The Red Elephant can’t buy that kind of advertising or such a good reputation without that level of service.

On the other hand, if I visited a restaurant with bad servers, gross food, rude management and an unhappy atmosphere – I would probably never go back and I’d tell everybody I know not to go there either. A bad reputation can almost never be fixed.

I’m glad I am realizing that I do have an extreme personality. I have thought about some things I can do to have an even better balance. One thing is to consider the people with whom I’m working. Personalities are a funny thing. We all have them and we can all be so different. I think it is important to be around people who are different than us and to even learn from them. I also think it is important to adapt while staying true to yourself.

I am a business oriented person and truly care about “the bottom line” and yes, fun might be something I enjoy. Maybe that comes across sometimes … I’m glad I’m taking a harder look at myself and seeing where I can change a little. I don’t have the answers quite yet. But, I’d rather be known as a nice, ethical, hardworking and easygoing person than somebody nobody wants to work with.

I believe it is possible to make money, be successful in business and have great relationships all
at the same time. I know that I’d rather have 1,000 friends than $1,000. Think about that. Would you? The bottom line sure is important, but in the end, I feel that relationships are the bottom line.

><(("> Mandy Stark

Mandy is a ><(("> Friend of Catch Your Limit, a marketing firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To contact Mandy email her at misslou20@aol.com or to learn more about Catch Your Limit, visit www.catchyourlimit.com.


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