I was out with someone last evening whom I’m hoping will become a client. He’s got an intriguing product and with some help I think it could become a game-changer. In the course of getting to know one another a bit better in preparation for a team meeting today, he said something that resonated:
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The road to hell is paved with diamonds.
Now, like me, you might have thought it was paved with good intentions but it turns out that the more I thought about what he’d said, the more I agreed. What he meant was that too many of us look at the shiny stuff that’s in front of us and lose track of what’s really important. As with the “good intentions” paving job, we often start down a path thinking we’re doing what’s best for ourselves and our families but end up in a different place altogether. Working for a jerk or in a job that you can’t stand may bring the diamonds, but think of what’s lost in the process. Bringing in a financial partner who can provide investment but doesn’t share your vision or ethics can be poisonous. Hiring brilliant people for your team who can’t or won’t get along is terminal.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that we as business people and capitalists don’t need to focus on making money. That’s sort of the nature of any successful business over time. The business doesn’t survive for very long if it neither makes money nor lays out a way to do so. What I think my dinner companion meant was that we can’t let the shiny objects – the glitter of the diamonds – become a distraction from what we meant to do with our business or our careers in the first place. The connections we have with people – managers, subordinates, clients, partners, customers – should be based on more than just a financial relationship if they’re going to endure the odd bumps in the interpersonal road that come along.
What do you think?
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Forty or so years ago, George Harrison wrote a song called “I Me Mine.” It’s about achieving an ego-less state of mind and is especially interesting in the context of how The Beatles were imploding at the time due to egos.
I thought about that song as I was working on a bit of business development over the weekend. The reality is that I’m probably not the right consultant for the project and I know of a few other folks who might be better at it. That realization is something we try to teach our kids – how to share – and I think that it may come down to something from which we all can learn – a philosophy of abundance. Continue reading
Over the weekend I was watching an interview with someone facing adverse circumstances. The particulars are relatively unimportant since there seems to be so much adversity spread around for a lot of folks and businesses these days. What was important, at least to me, was a line that the interview subject used and that’s what I’d like to remind us all about today.
In doing a little research, it seems as if it’s credited to, among others, Jimmy Dean (not the actor, the country singer and sausage-maker) and Dolly Parton. That’s immaterial too: it’s the thought that counts.
The guy in the interview was being asked if he didn’t feel discouraged by the adversity that had so negatively affected him. He looked right at the interviewer and said:
We can’t control the wind but we can decide how to set our sails.
I like that. A lot. It’s the exact opposite of throwing up one’s hands and asking “what are you going to do?” (or as it comes out here in the New York area “waddayagonnado?”). It’s taking responsibility and recognizing that stuff happens. It doesn’t place blame. It doesn’t ignore facts. It’s neither angry nor submissive. To me, it’s determined.
This is my chant for the week. What’s yours?
I’m a fan of the Fox show “Lie To Me.” In a nutshell, it’s about a guy who can detect when people are lying through various clues – facial expressions, use of language, etc. Besides the fact that it’s well-written and acted, it gives me hope that most of us can learn to do the same thing. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that’s true, but if it was I’m also convinced that a lot of folks would choose to ignore the clues since there are so many examples of people doing just that today. It’s true both in business and elsewhere and let me tell you what’s prompting this. Continue reading