I am a big fan of the author Malcolm Gladwell and his philosophy on life and towards business. One of my favourite reads is his book ‘Blink’ – The Power of Thinking without Thinking. The premise of the book is to follow your gut feeling when it comes to decision making and it’s something I try to apply to my own life and business dealings as much as possible.
A lot of the time in business, no matter how much you debate or try to convince yourself of a certain choice, sometimes there that gnawing feeling inside is telling you otherwise. Sometimes you ‘go against your better judgement’ and the outcome is what you had feared all along. It might have been a decision regarding a deal you are trying to secure, or a problem you are trying to solve, or sometimes it is about the people we deal with. Sometimes something inside you is screaming to be aware of someone who portrays themselves as your ally but are in fact just out for number 1.
One such scenario played out for me not so long ago. Without going into specifics I always had reservations about a certain business associate. I even voiced these concerns to some of my close colleagues in the office. Despite my antennas always being on high alert regarding the said individual, I let me guard down and told myself to ignore my gut instinct. Months went by where dealings with the person seemed totally fine, both between us and with mutual clients. However when a deal went south that we were confident of securing my gut began to twitch again.
Now I am not saying that the deal was sabotaged but my gut was telling me it wasn’t helped in our direction. Roll forward two weeks and I find out from another close colleague of a project they were discussing with the individual in question which was potentially being steered in another direction. Both people were unaware of each others relationships with me at the start of their conversation but were clear at the end of it! I found out very quickly who had my back and this scenario confirmed my initial gut instinct.
It gave me no satisfaction to be right. I am a big believer in building strong business relationships and as part of this process comes trust from both sides. Sometimes, like on this occasion, you get blindsided. So when you convince yourself, or you are convinced, that someone has your back but you know something is not quite right then stay cautious. Keep your cards close to your chest and expect the unexpected. Most important make sure to have open lines of communication between mutual clients to ensure your relationship with them is not less valuable than the other!
You may ask – Did I confront the person on this occasion?. The answer is No…… Why? Because knowledge is a powerful weapon and one which we will now use to our advantage going forward.
If you haven’t read ‘Blink’ I would strongly recommend it. Following this latest experience I think I may need a little refresher course.