Lousy Guys Finish Last
Edition: June 2002 - Vol 10 Number 06
The most profound transformation in business a transformation made more urgent, not less so, by the calamitous events in New York and Washington, DC is the downfall of the barracudas, sharks, and piranhas and the ascendancy of nice, smart people with a passion for what they do. Forget about the Internet for a moment. Forget about Wall Street and the Fed. What's really different about the economy is that lousy guys finish last.
There are two tough-minded reasons for this soft-hearted reality. The first is the abundance of choice in business choice of products, schools, media, and career paths. Choice spells doom for villains. At a time when more of us have more options than ever, there's no need to put up with a product or service that doesn't deliver, a company that we don't like, or a boss whom we don't respect. The second reason is what I call the "new telegraph." It's almost impossible for a shoddy product, a noxious company, or a crummy person to keep its, his, or her sad reality a secret anymore. There are too many highly opinionated and well-informed people with access to email, instant messaging, and the Web
.The bottom line: If you don't like certain people, it's easier than ever to escape them.
What we need is a definition of love in our professional lives. Here's mine: Love is the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your knowledge, networks, and compassion with your business partners. The secret to being a high-impact leader and the essence of individual and corporate success: Learn as much as you can as quickly as you can and share your knowledge aggressively; expand your network of people who share your values and connect as many of them with each other as possible; and, perhaps most important, be as openly human as you can be and find the courage to express genuine emotion in the harried, pressure-filled world of work. And one last point: Behave this way not because you expect something in return a quid pro quo but because it's the right way to behave. The less you expect in return for acts of professional generosity, the more you will receive.