Building business is about building and maintaining relationships.

According to a Paul Goodman quote “Enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity.” I would go further to add that “Important activities are generally only sustainable when they involve more than one person to share the benefits, which is only possible if an enjoyable relationship exists.”

In an earlier part of my working life I was in the transport world, warts and all. The cut and thrust energy that goes with that industry, being about on time delivery and service to keep everything going, is something I enjoyed and never got out your my system; Nor do I want to.

One ICON of Transport, who likewise has never lost pace, is Lindsay Fox. Now 74, he dropped out of school at age 16 and bought a second-hand truck. He is now No. 10 among Australia’s Richest and synonymous with LINFOX, the $1.5 billion transport and logistics group employing 22,000 people globally and operating in nine countries outside Australia and New Zealand where it is focused on a few key markets. "China, India, Thailand and Indonesia

I met Lindsay in Melbourne, recently when he was guest speaker at an Australian Thailand Business Council business seminar. He spends much of his time these days helping others develop business in Asia as member of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) business advisory council.

The seminar was not about transport but about doing business in Thailand which is now very positive and well supported by an established trade bi-lateral agreement between Australian and Thailand. Being one who does that in my own small way, I went to listen to him and learn more from others who spoke too.

During his session and over lunch Lindsay shared his experiences and secrets for doing business with Thailand where LINFOX have 2,000 staff employed in a highly successful transport business there. His message was simple. Maintain personal relationships at all levels.

Despite its size in LINFOX he said that business persists because it has a relationships mantra embedded in the management process. In small business it is obvious but in large business it is no different either. It is so important no matter what your size.

In some examples he used, he spoke both passionately and fondly about the long standing friendships with business people in Thailand that were the foundations and sustaining ingredients for the LINFOX growth and success there. This strengthened what others were saying too in-that maintaining relationships is the key ingredient keep reinforcing that you are there for the long term.

My other reason for gong was to reconnect with my roots. And I was not disappointed. Transport people although not unique in this, are generally refreshingly down to earth and practical people who say practical things; like they might also do over a beer or glass of wine with a few mates. This was Lindsay’s style as he talked in practical terms about building and maintaining relationships as the major thread and time immemorial pillar to success in business.


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