January 2015 - People

You have to decide what kind of relationships you want in business. Here's one of mine that appears to have gone seriously downhill this week.

Monday morning 'Focus Point' from American, Alan Weiss:

Hi Tim

Have you noticed that people spend more time complaining than helping themselves? I pack as if I expect my luggage may be lost, so I take an extra outfit in my carry-on. I always have books on my iPad which is with me when I'm waiting for a doctor's inevitably late appointment. I don't argue with front-line people, I call an executive. I belong to every club I can so that I receive preferred treatment when I travel and I don't stand in lines. You KNOW what to expect from the cable company, or the airline, or the department of motor vehicles, or the tax people. (I simply ignore people complaining that they're now paying too much tax because they're making so much more money!) You know what school tuitions are like, start saving money or working on scholarships. Complaining won't lower them or improve airline seating or make attorneys provide better client service. Do you send the food back, or sit there eating lousy food and complain about it?

And my reply:

Hi Alan - You have been a great remote mentor and inspiration to me over the last ten years or so since I first heard you speak in both the UK and USA. However one of the mantras I learned in those environments is that 'less is more'. So when I read your material every Monday I sometimes feel that you are starting to become a little sanctimonious. This week's Focus Point all makes sense because I'm 64, and I too have learned a lot of the things you write about, but many of your readers may be much younger and you 'can't put an old head on young shoulders'.

I just do a Thought for the Month (on my website) and I try to gear it to all my readers, but I'm not trying to sell anything, I just put it out there. All the very best and thank you, Tim

And Alan's reply to me:

Tim,

It's a free newsletter with tens of thousands of readers. Your note raises "passive-aggressive" to an art form. I write for me, not you, and I don't care what you think. Your letter is pompous and arrogant. Unsubscribe. But spare me your friggin condescending lectures. AND DON'T WRITE BACK, THIS ISN'T A DEBATE!!

Alan

So maybe the learning here is that ongoing relationships have to be a two way street, where both parties views are valued and respected. Otherwise......