I consider myself a pretty mellow guy, a turn the other cheek kind of a person if you will. In the world of business though this is typically viewed as a sign of weakness. Winning at all cost, having the upper hand, crushing the competition, never backing down, running over whoever stands in your way…….turn the other cheek. See what I mean?
I am all about business transactions being mutually beneficial, you get what you want at a fair price, I get what I want at a fair price, win-win. But win-win is a difficult concept for business people to rationalize. Most believe that there can’t be two winners, somebody has to lose, somebody has to give something up even if it is a single cent. That is the distinction of business, there are winners and there are losers.
A Richard Cranium is my code name for a dick head (get it?). In my 35 years of working in the business world I have met a lot of dick heads and if the truth be told, I have probably been a dick head a time or twelve in my younger more aggressive days. For me years and seasons have changed the way I look at the dynamics of business. It also helps that I have had a couple of very humbling experiences in my life, reminders that I am not as important as I think I am.
“Shocks” to the system, changes in the waves of your life have different effects on people. For me, I became much more reflective, more empathic towards the needs of others, but less social, still friendly as my children define it, but less likely to commit to new relationships, more guarded and reserve. A former business partner, who I still have business dealings with, was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. He was already pretty self-absorbed prior to his illness but after surgery and chemo treatments he became much more so. It was an interesting transformation to watch, one that has created conflict between us given that I headed in one direction and he headed in the polar opposite. Once upon a time we balanced each other, now there is entirely too much space between us for any sort of symmetry or compromise. He has become, in my view and in dealings with him a Richard Cranium, a place he seems very happy and comfortable with.
Being a Richard Cranium in the business world may seem to be the only path to success, the way to climb the proverbial corporate ladder to the top, the way to get noticed. Nothing makes more of an impression on a Richard Cranium superior than the sight of a young associate stepping on the backs of their peers to get to the place they feel is rightfully theirs, the corner office they think they deserve. Thoughtful, compassionate business leaders rarely get the press that cut-throat, deal-makers get. I guess “Turn the Other Cheek in Business” is not as catchy a title for a how-to succeed in business book as “Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life”…….the author, you guessed it, Donald J. Trump.