"A gentleman is simply a patient wolf" Lana Turner
This was a quote I saw on Dee's face book page. I ouldn't help but smile when I read it. I do see some truth in that line even though I consider my self a gentleman. Of course this lead me to think of the biblical rweference to Wolves in Sheeps clothing and that in turn triggered the title of this post and its contents.
I consider myself a sheep. In life love and business. Surprisingly according to chinese numerology I am one too. Amazingly the charachteristics of the sheep they outline was one hundred percent accurate right down to a favourite phrase which I use regularly: "A drop of honey attracts more flies than a spoonfull of vinegar".
But it is not good business to be a sheep. Conventional wisdom or should I say popular business wisdom dictates you need to be ruthless, agressive, selfish arrogant, strong (what they mean is stubborn and cruel) and self centered (selfish) to succeed.
However I tend to disagree. In fact I believe in the exact opposite.
To my credit I have bult a fairly successful business based on mutual respect and a win win philosophy. Recently I was overjoyed to find a book which reflects my views by two people who also is in advertising called "The Power of Nice - how to conquer the business world with kindness" by Linda Kapalan Thaler and Robin Koval. What is important to note is that this book is one of a kind. I have NOT found or heard of another business book giving similar advice even though I have looked far and wide.
Some of the things they say are quite simple and amazing. One piece of advice I found really useful was that when walking into a meeting which is full of tension one should take something sweet which everyone can share. There is no way you can start a meeting with negativity after that as the sweet moment makes the tension disappear.
Whilst being a nice sheep is well nice there are exceptions to the rule.
As much as I distaste it sometimes I have to put on the suit of a wolf. Maybe to impress a prospective business partner or to ensure that some one does not try to climb on my head taking kindness for weakness.
But what is most dissapointing is I have realized that some of my personal relationships might have turned out more fruitful if I had treated them with less kindness and care. Maybe it stems from child hood experiences where one associates harshness with care. A warped logic which dictates he is cruel to me because he loves me so if someone else is not harsh to me it means that person does not care for me as much.
I did not realize this was possible till I was talking to my shrink friend RC who shed some light on this matter.
Guess this too should be filed under lessons learned in a corner of my heart somewhere.