Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mother Nature Has Your Back

Nature abhors imbalance. Moms, all moms, know that because this law of nature is carried in their DNA. That's why up at the top of the list among Mom's teachings is, "What goes around, comes around." A story or two to make the point.

First, non business related. One March, many years ago, I was on the road for several weeks. I arranged my return flight and car service so that I could reach my home with a half hour to spare for the tip-off of a final four NCAA basketball game. We had three young kids at home that year. Traffic cut it real close. I rushed in the door, gave the wife a peck on the cheek, threw my top coat on the bench inside the front door, started toward my favorite TV room and announced, "I'll talk to you later Dear, gotta catch the game." "Oh really you must watch the game? Well let me tell you this, Mr. World Traveler. The school called about your son Tate." (Uh oh, "my son Tate." This will be bad.). "Tess has been so defiant I could pull my hair out; Your mother called yesterday and is visiting Saturday and you know that I've made plans for the weekend..and..and..and." So how much of that game do you think I saw? Fast forward a couple of years, same scenario. But this time I open the door with "Hi Honey, it's so great to see you. Tell me, how was your week?" She told me and I missed the first quarter. But I saw the rest of the game.

Easy Lesson. Focus on the needs of others; Serve them well and nature will take care of the rest.

One More: This time business related.

Years ago, a young program director working for me at a radio station did great work and went on to cable to program a new genre of television that transformed the music business as well as cable television. Some years later, I had just sold a radio company as he was exiting Time Warner where he was a division president, and we decided to build another radio station holding company together. We quickly raised the money and bought some stations. I was CEO and he, Executive Chairman. Three months after we "closed" on our first station he was named President of the most important Internet company of the time and things got pretty busy for him. At a radio Board meeting, three months into his new responsibilties he announced that he was transferring two-thirds of his interest in our radio company to me because, "Bob is doing all the work." Few would argue against this being generous, and atypical business behavior.


A few years later, that generosity took care of my kids' college educations when we sold the company. I asked him years after that, what motivated him that day in the Board room. He answered that early in our business dealings, long before that event, I made what seemed to him a totally altruistic decision by which he benefitted greatly, and that he had filed that gesture and looked forward to returning the favor. I had long forgotten what he considered my selfless service to him. He hadn't. Mother nature stepped in.

Make serving them all your mission. Customers, prospects, bosses, colleagues and employees. Trust the Moms.

1 comment:

  1. Another truly insightful and illustrative post. As enjoyable as these posts are to read they ring just as true. After reading Bob's musings, I feel absolutely obligated (in all the best ways) to weave these techniques and lessons into my daily life and to encourage my tem to do the same. Thanks Bob.