Saturday, March 28, 2009

This Is Not For You

If you don't own any books or audio CDs by Brian Tracy, go buy some today.

I particularly like his audio CDs because I can listen to them while I'm driving around town. I try to go through each CD three times. After all, I'm "driving while distracted" and want to make sure I catch everything at least once.

My favorite Brian Tracy saying is "This is not for you."

For example, he'll be talking about sales managers who come in to work at 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning when their sales staff is expected to be in at 8:00 AM. He describes the undesirable behavior and very matter-of-factly says "This is not for you."

I have a vision of Obi Wan waving his hand. "These are not the droids you're looking for."

Perhaps what stands out to me is the prohibition of bad behavior. All too often we give and receive advice on what we should do. You should get to work on time. You should be a good example for your employees.

It is far less common, as adults, to give or receive advice about what we should not do. Such advice is fine from a manager or a road sign. But from one professional to another? That's pretty rare.

As a consultant, you get to be one of these rare professionals who get to give both kinds of advice (what to do and what not to do).

  • Clicking on attachments from people you don't know, in an email you didn't request: This is not for you.
  • Keeping the same password for three years: This is not for you.
  • Letting people connect random 500 MB USB drives to their desktop computers: This is not for you.
  • Operating without an employee security policy: This is not for you.
  • Letting your anti-virus expire: This is not for you.


You get the picture.

There's something compelling about these words. You're not arguing ("A good anti-virus program is critical for your business! Why just the other day . . ..").

You're simply stating a truth.

And it's somehow affirmative. "This is not for you." It sounds friendly. Like, I know you're a good person and a smart professional. You wouldn't do something like that.

It draws people in. So they agree with you. No that's not for me.

Try working this phrase into your consulting practice.

Like the next time someone wants to buy a $399 Dell special with a twenty minute warranty, a celeron processor, and 256 MB of RAM.

No. This is not for you.

:-)


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