Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What you know and who you know

Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones (US motivational Speaker), once famously said; ‘the key difference between who you are today and who you will be tomorrow are the books you read and the people you meet.'

In the mentor discussion group on Thought Leaders Central recently, the fabulous Michael Henderson (Corporate Anthropologist) shared that he believes we need to see Thought Leaders as both a curriculum and a community.

Our learning curriculum at Thought Leaders is about commercial savvy, in the Million Dollar Expert Program this is very overtly commercial.

So you have to focus on making money (our curriculum) but also hold a focus on relationships (our communities). My father always said (and I believe this is a mindset to challenge), 'don't mix money and friendship'. For me, the kind of people I work with should be the kind of people I like. The alternative is what, 'to work with people you would not be friends with?' Following my dads advice about mixing friendship and money would have me miserable in my work.

My dad was right in a manufacturing widgets sense, but with Thought Leadership, your friends should get your best advice first! I have learned also the hard way, that discounting this (especially to nil) affects the way they receive the advice. It is very much a case of if you get something for free, you don’t commit to getting the full value from it.

Here are some thoughts I have around commerce and community or doing business with friends...
1. If I give things away to people I like, they don't get the value of committing.
2. At some point change the nature of the relationship from overtly commercial to declared intimacy. I stop charging those who become deep friends.
3. If in doubt sell through, not to.

My secret to personal exertion business...

Do business with people you like, talking about things you like, in a way you like. That way going to work is never a chore.



  1. If work relationships become friendships, that's great. Working with people who are established friends, however, can threaten both the working and social relationship if expectations turn out not to be aligned.

  2. Thank you for this post Matt, I found this a really useful perspective.
    I had many people caution against 'working' with friends and so I was initially very wary and even specifically avoided it.
    In recent times though I have had some of the most satisfying, productive and rewarding working relationships with friends.
    Whilst it's not going to be a fit with every social connection, I am now really open to engaging a work arrangement with friends where expertise is appropriate and expectations are clear.
    Thanks again,


  3. Thanks, Matt,
    Your observations are very topical as I have been debating this question with a couple of business colleagues who both have drawn the line when it comes to taking on friends as clients. So far, I have enjoyed the working relationships with my friends who have become clients. There are risks - but I am prepared to accept them while we have a mutually satisfying engagement.