There were a lot of great messages that came out of yesterday. I’ll skip the overtly political ones in favor of a great business lesson of which I was reminded.
As President Obama was speaking to the luncheon after his inauguration, he said to a room filled with enormous egos (hey – why would you think you ought to be elected without one?) that “today is not about me.” Really? Who, then? But you know what he means – it’s about the people.
That’s the business lesson. It’s not about you. It’s about your customers, your clients, your partners. That has to be your focus 24/7 if you’re going to have, and to continue to have, success.
One of the reasons I’m a big fan of Italian food is that it’s an entire cuisine devoted to getting out of the way of the food. Get great ingredients, put them together, and get out of the way. French food, on the other hand, seems to be all about the chef. It’s way to egocentric for my palate.
Is your business about you? Are you so focused on yourself and your skills (techniques to a chef!) that you’re in the way of great results?
It appears as if the Microsoft/Yahoo deal is off again. From my perspective, that’s too bad. No, I’m not a Yahoo shareholder looking to cash in. I’m just a guy who has had business dealings with both and feels that the combination of the two would have taken the best of each of their worlds and made a stronger partner for the rest of us.
One of them is really good at technology (not that the other isn’t) and has a track record of innovation. The other is the best partner from a client service perspective with which I’ve ever worked. Instead of this being about ego (most business deals have a good dose of that in there) and control, I wish that they’d thought about where they’re NOT the best of breed and realized that one’s square peg fits nicely into the other’s round hole.
Someone told me many years ago to hire for my weaknesses. It’s not easy to admit you have any, but we all do, as do most organizations. Hopefully, that’s why they hire folks like me – to bring in a set of skills that are missing or unavailable.
The blogsphere has written many gigabytes about the other aspects of the propsed merger, both from a financial and a tech perspective. To me, the real strength of the new MicroHoo organization would have been a cutting-edge tech company with world-class client service. That is what is needed to compete.