Ned McCrory is the Managing Partner for Batchelor, Frechette, McCrory Michael & Co. They are a long-time and very well respected accounting firms in Providence, Rhode Island, serving clients throughout New England and across the country.
As Managing Partner Ned has helped inject into the firm’s culture a strong focus on relationships, emphasizing the strength and depth of the connections they establish with their clients and all others with whom the firm interacts.
To achieve this relationship-focused bias Ned leads by doing. One example is a simple spreadsheet Ned maintains. First, some quick background.
Ned is a golfer. Not your average weekend golfer, but someone who is passionate about the game. He loves to play whenever possible, and is one of the few people I know who can pull off wearing a pair of knickers and make it look good.
Golf is an integral part of Ned’s marketing effort. The New England golf season runs realistically from mid-March through mid-November. During that nine month time frame it’s not surprising to find Ned out with clients and friends several times per week.
Back to the spreadsheet. Ned records every round of golf he has ever played! On a simple spreadsheet he lists out all of the members of the foursome with whom he played. He notes the date and course they played. He designates whether the round was business or personal. And he notes any function, event, charity, etc. associated with the round.
This spreadsheet epitomizes Ned’s focus on relationships. Recording who he played with and where they played is not so much for Ned; it’s for the people with whom he played. Frequently Ned will get a call from someone that might go something like this – “Ned, remember when we played in that charity event last year at Newport Country Club. Who was the banker that was in our group?”
In a few clicks Ned knows the answer. The caller is happy because he has a banking resource who knows him on a personal level. The banker is happy because he can further a relationship and possibly get a new piece of business. Ned is happy because he is able to help.
This focus on relationships is dynamic stuff because it shifts perspective; it places in the forefront the individual and what their concerns, questions, issues, challenges, etc. might be. The spreadsheet is not merely a log, it is a conduit to connections and insights.
Strategic thinking about who you know and how you might help them is powerful. Business success is all about people. The ability to effectively connect people is an asset few individuals possess.
Viewed through the lens of relationships, a round of golf is a perfect venue. It is usually about 4 hours in length, and then a meal or drinks for 1-2 hours afterward. It’s social in nature, with lots of opportunity to talk between shots. In other words, a great setting for getting to know someone.
Ned’s perspective is based on generosity. He thinks about who goes into the makeup of a foursome. Inviting people who do not know each other but should is a generous gesture. Strangers become acquaintances, maybe even friends. This benefits everyone.
By focusing on relationships Ned builds stronger relationships with everyone involved. His business comes almost entirely through those relationships; through introductions and connections where Ned’s generosity is returned in kind.
One last point. There are about 20 years of golf rounds entered into Ned’s spreadsheet. There is foresight in recognizing the value of the approach and cataloging it. Relationships take time and effort. You can’t simply create them when you need them.
Build a relationship for the sake of the relationship. Strengthen a relationship over time; nurture it and respect it. When you need help maybe a relationship might already be there. You won’t have to go looking for it or hope to build it.
And have fun while doing it. Maybe a round of golf or two.