Investment in "Real" Relationships Key to Differentiation


LOS ANGELES, May 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Business founders, staff and their professional advisors who fail to differentiate are tethering themselves to the status quo. And differentiation based on technical and tactical factors seldom resonates with clients or communicates anything about company's culture. Conversely, taking a considered holistic approach by sourcing and leveraging important relationships can empower a company to achieve a new level of relevance and value. Those insights are what's available in "Equity Value Enhancement," the human capital and risk management text from Dr. Carl Sheeler.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Dr. Sheeler expands on why the notion of "relationships" needs to be reassessed. He discusses how a company's behavior – namely, how it relates to its advisors and other stakeholders – reveals a great deal about its core values. Fundamentally speaking, effective relationships all work the same way. People who are made to feel validated and important ought to be "courted" as something other than a transaction. Being a "steward" or "servant-leader" calls for a sincere commitment on the part of executives, founders or advisors.

"Enduring strategic relationships are usually at the heart of successful businesses," explains Dr. Sheeler, "because ultimately, an organization is comprised of people, their collected wisdom and innovation – not its infrastructure, products, or services. My own work has demonstrated the vital nature of relationships in terms of equity value enhancement ('EVE').  It's about creating value by managing risk and leveraging human capital.  In the daily operations of a business, coordination between individuals is more important than control, and effective cooperation depends on strong relationships within and external to the organization."

Currently serving as Managing Director at Berkeley Research Group, Dr. Sheeler has spent his career studying how human and financial capital intersect to produce value and business opportunities. "I create value by connecting the experts and innovators in my network who are best positioned to help each other," he adds.

Dr. Sheeler suggests a few practical tests to determine whether an organization has adopted the right perspective on relationships. For instance, discussions with trusted advisors should revolve around value investment rather than cost. A cost-based orientation reveals an executive or founder thinks only in terms of transactions and tactics – short-term.

Creating and strengthening relationships does require time and effort, but the rewards can be tremendous. Conversations with clients, vendors, advisors and other stakeholders should include penetrating questions about what can be done to improve the working relationship where both parties stand to benefit.

Chapter 6 of "Equity Value Enhancement" deals head-on with the issue of relationships in business. While conceding the term has sometimes been overused and misapplied, Dr. Sheeler contends that an entity will flounder when it doesn't treat people well – starting with its own staff. There's a good reason why earning a listing as a "best place to work" is such a coveted distinction. It indicates a company would make an equally good partner or client.

Published by John Wiley & Sons, "Equity Value Enhancement" is for sale now on Amazon. Preview chapters are available from


Carl Sheeler, PhD, ASA brings wisdom gained from his 25 years of strategic planning, governance, business
operations, finance and advanced analytics experiences to bring clarity to complex risk identification, measurement, management, and mitigation issues faced by family offices and businesses.  
He is the author of the John Wiley & Sons book titled Equity Valuation Enhancement, a treatise which addresses scaling 8- to 10-figure companies and has presented or published 200+ times for entities such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association and other organizations on value, strategy and governance.  He can be reached at or 424-253-0110