Regardless of ones political beliefs, it is tough to find two more accomplished leaders in modern politics than those two consummate politicians from Boston, Senator Ted Kennedy and former Speaker Tip O’Neal. Both were leaders of their parties who held very set views and were champions of countless pieces of legislation. Each was a seasoned political operator, yielding great power and an ability and willingness to use it. They were national and global figures – true statesman to some, villains to others. Both were flawed, vulnerable, yet highly accomplished men.
They each represent an end to an era in their respected houses of the legislature. Tip O’Neal was the last great leader and deal maker in the House. Though often at odds with the Reagan White House, he remained cordial “after 6 p.m.” with the President and his party. Under his leadership negotiating, dealing and compromising were still the mode of operation. Currently we are hearing countless anecdotes and stories about Ted Kennedy, the seasoned politician and leader in the Senate. Stories of his working with fellow Senators and multiple administrations, regardless of party affiliation, to effect change and the passage of literally hundreds of pieces of legislation. Both men showed through their work and legacy that it is in the end all about relationships. It was the personal touch, the friendships, the relationships they built that enabled them to be the leaders they became.
It is a reassuring and timeless lesson – building true personal relationships is what makes the difference. It is in the story of two politicians of Boston – Ted Kennedy and Tip O’Neal – that we are yet again shown that real, genuine relationships make anything possible. It has been said of both men, regardless of political beliefs or personal flaws, that it was their personal touch that set them apart. From friend and foe, ally and rival; all said they could and would negotiate and compromise for the man. They were each known as someone who never let policy or politics, business or beliefs become personal.
The question is, are you showing genuine concern and empathy for others, their situation, and their circumstance? Are you building true lasting personal relationships with your co-workers, your clients, your vendors, your stakeholders, and in your community? Clearly competition and winning, especially in business and politics, is the primary issue. One should never loose site of the goal. However are you winning with others, or in spite of others? Yet again we can see, it is from the personal relationship that all real success truly springs.