Assuming the Worst

One of the biggest mistakes people make in business is writing someone off because of one aspect about that person that they may not like. This often leads to soured relationships and underestimating the competition.

We're all human and we're all flawed in one way or another. You don't have to agree with someone 100% of the time, but disagreeing with them doesn't automatically make them a bad person or a terrible company.

Be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Assuming that one flaw or difference in opinion defines the whole is a dangerous practice in both business and life.

Originally published May 2010

On Loyalty and Deciding Who To Listen To

Too many people confuse loyal people with people who only give 100% positive feedback.

The problem with sycophants is that as soon as popular opinion changes, so does their "loyalty."

The people who are there for you when others would rather gossip, who push you to be better without turning themselves into a doormat, who speak the truth with kindness even if it's not what you want to hear — those are the people worth listening to.

Originally published August 2013

The Stories That Matter

When it comes to the people you work with, what you see is rarely what you get.

I’ll never forget learning over lunch one day that an event professional I collaborated with had been smuggled out of a concentration camp as a baby.

Or being told by a designer during a conference happy hour that she had everything stolen from her family as a child and is now hyper-driven by money and security as a result.

Or knowing that dozens of friends and colleagues lost family members on 9/11.

Everyone has stories you don’t know. Everyone has events that have shaped their lives in profound ways. Whether or not they choose to share them with you is their business.

What is your business is treating everyone as though their stories – whether spoken out loud or not – matter.

Originally published February 2015