Well, here I am in South Beach, Fla., forgetting all about work (for a change!). I am wandering around this incredible affluent area of town where the high-rise condos have a panoramic overlook of the water and go for at least $1 million easily.

I pass by an unassuming real estate office in the area known as “South of Fifth Street.” In the window, there’s a very cool tabletop model of the entire neighborhood. As I am taking photos of the interesting things I see, I knock on the door and ask if I can take a closer look and maybe even take a picture or two.

Before I know it, the owner is telling me all about the six luxury condo buildings on South Point Drive that he sells — and how he has sold $3 billion in real estate over the years. This guy, who is as open and seemingly as simple as his office, is actually a mega-success story with a net worth that most of us can only dream of.

Interestingly this man bears the same name as the Beatles singer, John Lennon. Uncannily though, he also carries a similar message in a completely different context: Treat everyone you meet with dignity, respect and kindness.

He taught me this lesson not through words, but in his actions. John chatted with me for nearly an hour, literally telling me the secrets of his success. He isn’t formally educated and he doesn’t consider himself smarter than other people, but he makes it his business to know his territory better than anyone. John also treats everyone as a potential contact and relationship to build on.

The critical ingredient to his success wasn’t his hard work, long hours or even his sales skills, but rather his undying investment in relationships.

John didn’t try to sell me a thing, but he did sell me on himself. Because he invested in me, I would go back to him one day — whether it’s in five years or 20.

We’ve all read about the importance of networking and investing in your relationships — not only upward with leaders and managers, but also peers, employees and everyone inside and outside the organization. Relationships are the glue that hold us together, enabling the trust and communication that ensure endeavors large and small are completed successfully.

Thank you, John Lennon, for sharing with me how you successfully invest in relationships. Like your musical “twin,” you showed me that it’s all about making beautiful music with others.

Andy Blumenthal  |  Contributing Writer

Andy Blumenthal is a division chief at the U.S. State Department. He was previously chief technology officer at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A regular speaker and published author, Blumenthal blogs at User-Centric Enterprise Architecture and The Total CIO. These are his personal views and do not represent those of his agency.