Early in my professional career, a colleague gave me a piece of advice: you see who truly is good and who is not when times are difficult. Of all the “sage wisdom” I have received over the years, this advice is the one that has been proven again and again. It is an invaluable tool in understanding better your colleagues, investors, Board, business partners, customers and vendors. I have passed this advice on to friends recently and felt it was worth blogging about, as you will not only find it very useful in understanding others but it also will tell you a lot about yourself.
The underlying principle is that it is easy to do the right thing when everything is going well but you can understand a person’s true character in how they act in difficult times. Many people seem great when they do not have cash flow issues, when their company is hitting or exceeding its targets, etc. They will often talk about win-win relationships and seem great to work with.
Most of these people, however, show their true colors when the cost of doing good becomes very significant. If doing the appropriate action takes money out of their pocket, hampers their career, potentially risks new investment, makes them look weak, etc., many will take the path of least resistance and do things you would not expect of them. Following are some (but definitely not all) situations that provide insight into the true character of people you associate with: Continue reading “How to know who is good and who is bad”