To serve people effectively, you must know them well. If you want something, you have to give something — to have a friend, be a friend or to be successful, you must help others achieve success.
These basic concepts apply to business and life because we don’t operate in silos. Consistency in character across the board is critical. That means demonstrating a high level of integrity, honesty, loyalty and respect in all situations with all people.
Whether you are the janitor or the CEO, treat people with the same respect and dignity. Hospitality and generosity are values I hold close to my heart, and that means practicing these behaviors in every aspect of your life, with all interactions — personal or professional.
Showing respect to individuals is central to any executive’s ability to lead with authenticity. If we can’t be ourselves, who can we be?
The core values of faith, relationships and reciprocity, philanthropy and consistency of character should form your strong foundation. Every decision you make should be centered on satisfying one or more of these values.
In my case, the Fedeli Group Way is that we value excellent relationships with associates, clients and insurance companies. These relationships — while highly professional — are conducted with compassion, and in a familial manner.
Our clients are our prized assets. They must be treated specially, with honesty and empathy, and with a sense of honor and respect. Their needs must be satisfied. The loyalty of our associates, strategic partners and clients is most important to us.
Here are some key principles we follow at The Fedeli Group:
■ Serve others. A critical success factor is to be responsive to customer needs and be resourceful in providing innovative alternatives and solutions to customers’ real or perceived problems. To be problem solvers, be closely connected with your clients. Work to serve them. Do this by focusing on your values and working to make a real impact on the people you touch in business and in life. Be humble and honest about your failures. One of the biggest strengths is to admit your weaknesses — and learn from your own mistakes and those of others.
■ Be consistent. I have a “Be Who I Am” motto — I’m transparent, and I believe this is important for all individuals, and particularly executives who are entrusted to lead organizations and manage people. Do not switch roles/attitudes between CEO, father, husband, community member, investor, etc. That builds trust among associates, clients, neighbors and friends.
■ Focus on people first. Foster relationships, add value, solve problems, and network to share information and ideas. These are four cornerstones. Our business, like many others, is about serving people. And when we concentrate on meeting their needs, then we are successful. Life is about your contribution, not about making comparisons.
By focusing on people first, being consistent and always serving others we can find success and happiness. And when this is combined with a business goal, then you know you are providing true value to others. ●
Umberto P. Fedeli is president and CEO at The Fedeli Group