Ford CEO Alan Mulally is the best business leader to come along since Lee Iacocca. He was a featured speaker recently at The University of Georgia’s CEO Forum. Part of his presentation was quoted in USA Today:
One thing I learned from [my parents] was that it is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice. . . . . . .enhance and learn and develop your working together skills.
Mr. Mulally’s opinion of the importance of people skills is closely in line with those of other socioeconomic successful people. In The Millionaire Mind, 94% of the 733 millionaires surveyed nationally [representative of the top 1% of wealth holders] indicated that “getting along with people” was an important factor in explaining their success. The people skill dimension ranked 3rd overall out of 30 factors studied, just a point behind integrity and discipline.
Most successful people go out of their way to attract, motivate, appreciate, and nurture key advisors, suppliers and employees. The Millionaire Mind
Most economically successful people are leaders. And to succeed in this role one must have empathy for the needs of others. Especially today, technology can be a seductive force in convincing people that they don’t need others, that teamwork is no longer as important as it was in the past. Just give me my tablet, my PowerPoint, etc. However, the value of a firm handshake has never gone out of style, and it never will.