Devils, Wizards and Succeeding in Business:
Speaking of Motivation
By Barry Maher
writing this in Las Vegas in the midst of the holiday
season. So since I am of course overflowing with the milk of human kindness,
heres a holiday-type suggestion:
Try to like
those you have to work with.
Try to respect
them. If you think business is war, remember the first casualty of war is truth.
And the first truth that dies is the truth that the other guy is a person much
like ourselves, with good and bad qualities, with hopes and dreams. A person who
probably believes in what he is doing exactly as much as we believe in what
The other guyor
the other gal for that matteris
not the devil.
Be wary of people
who try to demonize those they perceive as their opponents.
That type of reverse-Pollyanna thinking might work fine if you want to fight
wars all your life. It's a lot easier to kill a demon than it is to kill another
human being who's basically much like you and me. Though even in a war, I'd
argue that if you're running that war you're better off with an accurate,
non-propagandist view of the enemy.
neither your co-workers,
your people nor
your boss should be the enemy.
Not if you can possibly avoid it. Your customersthe
customers of the company you work forshould
never be the enemy. Too many of your competitors are anxious to have them
We talk about
internal customers, but try actually treating your fellow workers at least as
well as a great salesperson treats her customersinstead
of the way the demonizers sometimes treat theirs.
Try smiling at them.
Creativity lecturer Mike Vance says Dale Carnegie's advice was basically, "Smile
even if you don't feel like it," but maybe what it should have been was, "Find a
reason to smile so you can feel like it."
don't have to trust those you work with,
just like you don't have to trust
customers. You might keep a very wary eye on them. On the other hand, they
should be able to trust you.
Appropriate to this time
of year, Jesus CEO (from the business book of the same name) might have told us
that sometimes you can better empathize with someone who's giving you problems
by "hating the sin and not the sinner."
Your subordinate missed the meeting. He wasn't doing it to spite you. He had a
reason. He probably even thought it was a good one. You may not see it that wayand
you may have to impress that upon himbut the issue wasn't personal and you
shouldn't make it so.
management expert cites the famous scene in the Wizard of Oz in which
Toto pulls back the curtain and reveals that the Wizard is a
technologically-augmented phony. Outraged after all she's been through and
obviously taking the deception personally, Dorothy calls him a bad man.
"I'm not a bad man," the humbug replies. "I'm just a bad wizard."
are all the heroes of our own stories. An astute philosopher named Ken Koserowski used to tell me, "Everybody is a jerk in somebody's eyes. But
nobody's a jerk in their own." Most of your peers or subordinates or bosses are
not really bad people. Some of them are just bad wizards. Perhaps very bad
wizards. It's seldom personal and if you can avoid taking it that way, you'll be
way ahead of the game.
Salespeople are paid to get along with their customers. The rest of us are paid
to get along with those we work for, those we work with, and those who work for
us. As well as with our company's customers. Since we're being paid for it, we
might want to try to get good at it.
particularly righteous indignation, is more addictive than heroin. It's becoming
the drug of choice for far too many of us. Which explains the success of all
those contentious political shows on TV. Nothing kills empathy faster than righteous
indignation. I can personally attest to the difficulty, but try going cold
yourself. You're not the devil either.
© Copyright 2013 Barry Maher,
Las Vegas, Nevada