Make stuff, sell stuff

Some of the Best Business Advice Given to Me in My Career

My response to Week 16 of Blog Ideas

In a previous life, way before I do what I do now I worked in a high tech firm in the purchasing department for an outstanding boss named John Colclough. A tough guy, demanded a lot but taught a lot. I credit the experience under him as my real business training and 29 years later I still use his advice every day.

He had three key rules about being in business, negotiating and life in general

1. When someone comes to your home you supply the sandwiches.

2. If you are going to point a gun to someone’s head make sure the gun is loaded, that the gun has bullets in it, that you are willing to pull the trigger and most important you have the authority to pull the trigger.

And this is the one that I use all the time
3. Always look behind the person you are dealing with and see who is really in charge.

What he ment by the last one is that very often when we deal with people we aren’t really dealing with the one we are talking to but with the person that is behind them. Their boss, a spouse, some rule, but almost always someone or something we can’t see.

I have take this in a number of ways. One is to not get to upset by someone’s behavior that might seem odd or out of place to the situation, it may not be them who is really speaking. The second direction I take this that when you present something to some in a business setting, very often that person will be presenting your ideas to someone else. Make sure that person has everything they need to make a great presentation. Don’t hang them out to dry, make them look good and you will look good.

What has been amazing to me with these rules is that I have remembered them in almost exactly these words all these years and how often I think about them.