June 8th, 2007 06:08 EST
You Always Have the Power to Be Treated with Respect
Last month, I had one of the most unforgettable business experiences in my long career.
A friend referred my business partner and me to a gentleman with whom, the referring friend suggested, we would want to do business. When the opportunity arose to do business, we met this man in our attorney's office in Salt Lake City. Although he arrived a few minutes late, we weren’t alarmed. Traffic can be a problem sometimes, even to the most punctual of people.
We sat down at the conference table and began to discuss the business that we had in common. The meeting was soon interrupted when the man received a call on his cell phone. He indicated to us that the call was important – and so he took the call.
And he proceeded to talk on his cell phone for a whopping 35 minutes.
He talked, in our attorney’s conference room, with us at the table, waiting for the meeting to resume.
You get the picture – we sat there waiting to resume our meeting while he yakked on the phone.
Needless to say, we were shocked – not only by the duration of the call, but also by the man’s actions. He walked around the room. He took a seat at the other end of the conference table. He put his feet on a chair, leaned back, and proceeded to have what appeared to be a social conversation.
Thirty-five minutes later when he finally finished his call, the man retook his seat at the conference table and said, "I'm sorry, let's continue."
We told him that we had no interest in doing business with him, and he could be excused now, our relationship was over.
I had flown to Salt Lake City for the specific purpose of meeting with this gentleman, but I had absolutely no interest in doing business with someone who would treat us in such a rude and disrespectful manner. We called the contact who had referred the gentleman to us. Predictably, he was terribly embarrassed and apologized profusely.
I think it’s important that new entrepreneurs, who may feel that they aren’t a strong position to defend against such abuse, not accept whatever treatment comes their way. Accepting disrespectful and abusive behavior is not the way to go into any relationship.
Regardless of how much power you have, you need to go into all of your relationships as if you do have power. At the very least, don’t tolerate disrespect. People will respect you more when you don’t tolerate disrespect.
There is no reason for anyone to treat another person in a rude and disrespectful manner. This is true whether that person has been in business for a long time, or whether he or she is just getting started.
So, as you are working hard every day to build your company, or as you're building your career, you will find yourself in many different situations, and you will need to make many decisions. There will be forks in the road. Always walk away from people who are disrespectful. People who are disrespectful don't treat you better as the relationship matures, they treat you worse.
About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc.
Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker and advisor. To bring Joel into your company, please visit www.joelblock.com or www.growth-logic.com.