art of war

People who think that Business is the “Art of War” are wrong. It’s not.

I’m back in business since a few weeks and have taken a few advisory roles. Part of my new work life is still to talk a lot with company leaders and customers about how to do business the right way. And this is not only thinking about growth and selling a company, but building something that you like to do, where you are passionate about, and that also serves something bigger (see also my article about vision and mission). Today I like to write down a few thoughts on business ethics.

The title of this article is taken from my interview with Gary McGraw and I like to repeat this as a recommendation for leaders (and those you want to be a leader:

Business is “I want to get this done” and “you want to get that done” and together we can walk for a while because we have the same direction.

Taken from: Number #9: Episode 001: Interview with Gary McGraw, PhD, about the state of security and successfully growing a business

I have always tried to be gentle to my team mates, to customers, and to competitors. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win and you usually meet more than only once in life. One of my colleagues and friends often quotes Michelle Obama in this context. Let me add some quotes here too (taken from this CNBC article):

“Going low is easy, which is why people go to it,” Obama said. “It’s easy to go low. It’s easy to lead by fear. It’s easy to be divisive. It’s easy to make people feel afraid. That’s the easy thing and it’s also the short-term thing.”

“When I want to go low, it’s all about my own ego. It’s not about solving anything…. It’s about seeking revenge on the thing that happened to you.”

Michelle Obama at CNBC

I completely agree on that and that’s why I don’t see business as the “Art of War”. Just as in your private life, being respectful is much more fulfilling than fighting others.

And “going high” doesn’t mean you won’t feel the hurt or have emotions when faced with a challenge, she told The New York Times in 2018. “It means that your response has to reflect the solution. It shouldn’t come from a place of anger or vengefulness. Barack and I had to figure that out. Anger may feel good in the moment, but it’s not going to move the ball forward.”

Michelle Obama in the New York Times

My advice: leave your anger behind and work on solving issues in your way. In the long term, this is a) more successful and b) much more rewarding for your ego and everyone else involved.

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