What are you building?

What are you building - image for article by Greg Alder

Are you building a business? Are you building a portfolio? Are you building a network? A nest egg?

These are the things that many of us focus on building. Can you see what they all have in common? They’re all quantifiable. They’re all measured in numbers – the number of orders, number of clients, number of properties, number of shares, number of connections, number of dollars.

What about those things that can’t be quantified? What would happen if you made these your focus? Let’s look at a few.


Like love, it’s one of those things you can’t buy. So, how do you earn respect?

You can earn respect by staying true to your values.

You can earn respect by being dignified in response and humble in success.

You can earn respect by being generous with your time and knowledge.

You can earn respect by showing respect.

If you focus on doing the things that will earn respect, something interesting will happen. Research shows that audiences engage with people they respect. They hear them, believe them and buy what they’re selling.

So, by focusing on building respect, you build your business, and your network.


Value has nothing to do with price and everything to do with enriching your audience’s life.

Add value, be valued.

If your audience values the advice you give them, then they’ll believe that they’ll also find your products or services valuable.

So, by focusing on building value, you build your business, your bank balance (which you can use to build your portfolio), and your nest egg.


Do the right thing. Give honest opinion when solicited. Do no harm. Do what you promise to do. These are the things that earn trust.

Trust leads to generosity. Trust creates powerful emotional bonds.

When you build an emotional bond with your staff, they’ll give more.

When you build an emotional bond with your customers, they’ll buy more.

So, focusing on building trust is another way you will build your business.


See me, understand me, care about me. That’s what each of us wants.

Learning to see every situation from the other person’s point of view is critical in negotiation.

Research shows that we’re all more likely to relate to people – and brands – that show they understand us and care about us.

Compassionate businesses build relationships, not conduct transactions.

Repeat business is cheaper to gain than new business, so focusing on compassion is a great way to build business. There are many businesses that make compassion part of their business strategy. Tom’s is a good example.

There’s something empowering about writing down your values – whether personal or corporate. Committing them to paper or screen gives them gravitas. You can look at them and say, “This is me” or ‘This is us”. You’re less likely to be seduced or coerced into doing something against your better judgement.

Building respect, value, trust, compassion or other emotional values will reap financial reward. But that’s not the point. It’s the other benefits that are more important. You gain self-respect, clarity of purpose, and consistency of behaviour. You get to measure your network by depth of relationships, not sheer numbers. You get to measure your business’s success by lives improved, not just sales made. You get to leave a legacy, not just a nest egg.

So, what are you building?

Photo by Lesly Juarez via Unsplash

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