Friday, September 3, 2010

Life is like...

I love life is like posts. I think I had one on life is like a roller-coaster already. Today the theme is "life is like a high school cafeteria". This simile applies to all aspects of life but especially to business. Having had a conversation lately that amused me I was reminded that I wanted to write another "life is like" post. So here it is:

Let's pretend you are a carpenter (it's just an example, hopefully far enough away from everything you are doing :).  Let's further pretend there is a tool that can help you to assist you with your work. The tool itself is rather complicated and expensive but it's also impressive. All in all, the tool itself will not do your job but it can help you to strengthen your results. It also will aid to your professional reputation once you've made the investment.

Now, fellow readers we opened up the doors to the high school cafeteria and you'll never find a way out of it again. Do you remember how people divided themselves into groups? Yeah that's exactly what I mean. Our carpenters will split up into at least two groups those who have the tool and those who haven't. Their argumentation will probably be the following:

  1. Those who own the tool aka the geeks: They will advertise the tool and it's usefulness. Eventually (in business not eventually but more certainly) they will find people (C- level executives) who credit their ideas and value the professionally.
  2. Those who don't own the tool and discredit the results aka the purists. These people are great, they try to convince everybody that the tool is just an unnecessary tool, because you can gain equal result with fewer resources. Even if it is true, this group will face tough times. They have to market their ideas even more than the carpenters who own the tool because they are lacking a unique selling point and professional recognition.  People will always question the credibility of this group.
  3. Those who don't have the tool but know about the strength and weaknesses of the tool. I guess these carpenters have a good chance to get along and keep their profession value up. By knowing the price for the tool and the limits they can propose cheeper studies without  appearing as whiners or people who don't grant other success.
  4. Those who don't care.
Thus what can we learn from the high school cafeteria? It never paid of pissing of other fractions in high school, didn't it? First you have to search for weaknesses then you have to find people who will support your ideas etc. At the end you will end up with a mess of accusations, believes, and ideas. You waisted time, and energy and got where? Nowhere you're still in the same cafeteria. In the business world being stuck somewhere is the worst you want to achieve. So take care of the "purist's moments". Question yourself why you are thinking in that way. Maybe it's just because you would like to have that tool, the possibilities, the marketing skills? Once you've answered these questions honestly it's easier to think like the third group of carpenters, and still be successful ;).  

Me watching people facing their "purist's moments".