Tuesday, January 25

The true measure of a mensch 

Recently, I passed along a referral for a big-dollar opportunity to a person who I rather dislike. Let's call this person Grinchy.

Grinchy has been rude to me, confrontational, and most unprofessional on two distinct occasions. In fact, during the second occasion, his card was passed around the table as if it was manna from the heavens - the vibe being "and of course, you want Grinchy's card because he's such a local celebrity." I let the card sit on the table in front of me until it was time to leave the meeting room. Then I had a choice:

a. Leave the SOB's card on the table and let everyone see that someone could care less about this big-name kinda-has-been.
b. Discreetly take the card, slip it in my pocket, play nice, and leave larger-than-life egos intact.

I chose option B and then with some PRIVATE satisfaction, threw the card away in the comfort of my own home office.

Then today, my marketing mentor and coach Alan Weiss sends out an email from a contact of his looking for EXACTLY the kind of work that Grinchy does. It's highly specialized and quite the niche - and there was no mistaking that this work had Grinchy's name all over it. Now, don't get me wrong - Grinchy is at the top of his profession and if I mentioned his name, you'd all say, "Wow... I didn't know that THAT person was a jerk."

I can only assume that Grinchy is somewhat better-behaved around paying clients than he is around me. So I passed along the lead. We'll see what comes of it. And I've had plenty of personal experience about people starting out acting like schmucks who eventually came around.

Case in point - my best friend Ken Smith from high school. The first two weeks of 9th grade, I hated this kid's guts. We finally started our now 28-year friendship when he slammed me into a row of lockers and we had a good old fashioned fistfight. That works great when you're 13.

Now that I'm 41, I think passing Grinchy a referral was a pretty good idea.

Who have YOU helped, referred, coached, or introduced lately that perhaps you didn't personally like? That might be the true measure of a mensch [(n.) One who does good deeds: He is a real mensch, the kind of guy you can always count on.]

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