What a postman from Devon can teach us about building relationships and making ourselves irreplaceable

In today’s fast moving technology-driven media age, people generally prefer to email, tweet or text than to take the time to have a real conversation. Great business leaders, on the other hand, are able to ensure that the right conversations are taking place at the right time across their organisation and they understand the importance of emotional connection through dialogue. And most incredibly successful people know the importance of making real connections, expanding their networks and developing meaningful relationships.

Devon-based postman, Richard Kemp, was due to be replaced by his bosses at the Royal Mail for taking too long on his rounds. During his 30-year career, he has gone out of his way to chat to the villagers on his patch. He is warm, friendly, and knows them so well that he can sense when something is wrong. He was so highly prized that the villagers launched a petition to keep him, describing him as an irreplaceable asset to the community.

Because professionals are so time pressured, having to account for every minute of their day, they can be short, to the point and somewhat aloof. When we meet accountants and lawyers who do things differently, they really stand out. Those who can demonstrate empathy, understanding and trust, and focus first and foremost on engagement with their clients and their colleagues will ultimately ‘win’ in the market as their clients will always want them around.

If you engage with someone on any level, then you have succeeded. Once that engagement is in place and that relationship begins to build, then other opportunities may arise and you just don’t know what impact that may have…