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The ‘R’ in Leadership Stands for Relevant Relationships

Winning in today’s automotive aftermarket requires a common sense of purpose, at all levels of the organization.


John Passante is a broad-based senior executive with over 30 years of extensive organizational development and senior human resource experience with progressive corporations involved in multiple locations, both domestic and international.

Dr. John A. PassanteKerri Gulick, AAP
President & CEO, The Organizational Development Group, Inc.; Author: “The Human Side: High Touch Leadership in a High-Tech World”Director of Communications & Corporate Affairs
The Pronto Network

A Common Sense of Purpose


Indeed, all aftermarket companies should and do focus on the top, using sales. It is the key indicator of the health of the business. Equal attention is paid to the bottom line, [with] profits drive a thriving business. As important as the numbers are, they only tell part of the story. Success is not just numbers on a spreadsheet. Winning in today’s automotive aftermarket requires a common sense of purpose, at all levels of the organization.

Authentic relationships permit the ability to meet employees, customers and vendors on their own terms. 

Question: Do we put others first? Strong relationships make it easier to get and share information! Information is strategic and powerful. Relevant relationships help to lessen distractions and reduce superficial connections and opens the door to a strong professional bond.


The ability as a leader to create and develop powerful relationships is fundamental to company success. Meaningful relationships create direction and strategy. Relationships are enticing as well as improve the employee’s, and customer’s experience. Ponder this – Relationships are just as important as your product and services. Relationships will always matter; they are how human beings are built. Remember the lessons of the past 18 months. Trust only comes from relationships. When we build both personal and business relationships, we have a better life and better business results.

A key strategy is investing in building strong long-term business relationships. Relevant business relationships nurture authentic communications and not mere connectedness. Remember that everyone is worthy of a meaningful relationship. It is okay for leaders to be themselves (show vulnerability). Compassions, sincerity and mutual respect are not, in fact, outdated leadership characteristics in this high-tech world. Relationships involve treating each customer individually rather than as a group to better focus and respond to the needs of the customer, reduce customer agitation, build loyalty and increase the speed of customer feedback. In many cases, business relationships foster friendship and with friendship comes improved trust, and yes – fun!


“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has–or ever will have–something inside that is unique to all time. It is our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.” – Mister Rogers

The Power of Relationships

Relationships create a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together and are “esprit de corps.”

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity” -Simone Weil

What a profound claim!

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “Relationship” as “the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other,” or my favorite definition “the way in which two or more people or things are connected.” All humans have the desire to feel loved, valued, and respected. The automotive aftermarket is a great place to work and demands our time and attention. Have you taken time out of your busy day to reflect on how you’re connected to your colleagues?  


Almost existing in tandem with the word “Relationship” is the word “Respect.” Yes, we all want a little “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” Thank you, Aretha Franklin for singing it so well! Treat others as you want to be treated.   Be considerate of one another and show genuine respect to your colleagues.   

We’re all made wonderfully unique and with different personality types. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator instrument states there are “16 distinctive personality types,” two of those types are ISTJ, which includes traits such as “quietly systematic, sincere, reserved, factual, organized, logical, detailed, hardworking” or ENTJ, who are characterized as “strategic, logical, outgoing, ambitious, effective organizers, and independent.” No matter which of the 16 personality types you fall under, the great thing is that no one type is considered greater than the other. They are all equal!  


Step outside your comfort zone and take the time to get to know your colleagues and especially those who think differently than you.  

Friends, encourage one another! Lift each other up on daily basis. When you take the time to make relevant connections, and show respect to others, you will build meaningful relationships and lasting friendships and meaningful relationships.



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