“Who are your enemies?”
I have been asked that interview question for my whole life as I was growing my career.
I am recalling being in my twenties, sitting across the table from a grizzly and embittered executive who would ask me, “Who are your enemies?”
When I would fail to produce a list of enemies, the interviewer would look at me with disdain, like I was the most irrelevant person on the planet, implying, “How can you claim to be competent if you haven’t made powerful enemies?”
That scene seems so ridiculous to me now. Because, you know what? I ended up doing OK for myself without leaving a trail of bodies and enemies in my wake.
I built my own success by making friends, and helping others to succeed too.
Win-lose or win-win?
The idea that “for me to win, you have to lose”, never made sense to me. If I can win AND you can win, how does that hurt me? Why is that not better?
I have found that by respecting people’s humanity, and making them feel like winners and heroes, that you can build a tremendous amount of loyalty and power in your organization.
I was able to win because they were able to win.
I am grateful to my mentors and to all of the people who jumped in the boat with me so that we could create success together.
And I am much prouder that I have a group of friends and supporters too long to list, than I am ashamed that I can not name my impressive list of enemies.
I talked about this in my TEDx Talk: Reclaiming Humanity at Work
Here is a link to a version of the talk with Italian Subtitles
The Hard Stuff and the High Ground…
Daily business reality is filled with pressures and stress, impossible demands, shrinking resources, nasty politics, arrogant people in power, shifting priorities, slow decisions, strategic stalls…
To protect our sanity in dealing with the hardest stuff, my approach was to always stay on the high ground.
The high ground demands for us as good leaders to create clarity and accountability, but with genuine respect for others. It demands effective communication, and a commitment to developing the team along with growing the revenue.
Concrete Actions & Sanity
All the resources you’ll find at Azzarello Group offer practical, concrete ideas to move something forward in your organization, business, or your own career — all in a way that preserve your sanity and do not require that you turn yourself into a miserable jerk to succeed.
You can hit reply to any email you get from me and it will get to ME. And I’d love to hear your feedback.
To your success. Avanti!
What do you think?
Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)