November 4, 2011

News & Opinion: It's Not About You

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 7:52 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

In many situations, problems arise because we consider ourselves too much. We focus more on what we did or didn't get as opposed to what we contributed. The philosophy that one gets more by giving, was compellingly illustrated in Bob Burg and John David Mann's two books, The Go-Giver, and Go-Givers Sell More. In each parable, a set of characters portrayed the results of a 'taking vs. giving' disposition, and how to focus more on others in order to satisfy more people, create more value as a person (let alone a product, service, or company one represents), and ultimately benefit far beyond the results of a 'taking' disposition. I've enjoyed these books very much, and was excited for the opportunity to see Bob Burg speak in Chicago yesterday. Phil Gerbyshak and I left town very early and made the event just in time. Soon after Bob's talk began, a number of things about his presentation made me realize that his books weren't just books. They were stories capturing a philosophy that he's spent some serious time putting into practice himself. His interaction with the audience, his tone of voice, his acknowledgment of nearly every sneeze in the room (there were many), and his personal stories of how to create better outcomes in even the most basic human interactions, were insightful and inspiring. Let me be clear though, this wasn't fluffy talk about peace and loving each other. It was a deeper analysis about human needs, communication, our proximity to each other and to issues and work we're involved in. It was about empathy, converting negatives into positives, and foreseeing negative outcomes and shifting actions to create positive results. How many of us can think of an enemy and know how to (or firstly, even want to) turn them into a friend? Or, how have we programmed ourselves to try to become successful in ways that directly oppose success? These things, and Bob's talk in general, culminate in he and John's current book, It's Not About You. Through the power of influence and positive persuasion, the main character of the book learns key lessons about leadership and creating value for the people he interacts with. An idea that started with The Go-Giver, It's Not About You is an important book that serves as a reminder, a guide for character, and ultimately a strategy for personal change, success, and a more fulfilling life. From the book: "What you have to give, you offer least of all through what you say; in greater part through what you do; but in greatest part through who you are." And if you have the chance to see Bob speak, don't miss it. Phil and I will never forget it.