I recently consulted with a colleague regarding the direction of a new business venture. My company had accumulated some cash, and I was hot for an acquisition. Or three. Kevin was good at this sort of thing.
Kevin is a hearty and enthusiastic gentleman, with a lazy eye and a tendency towards colorful language. “Hey, Brad,” he’ll say, somehow managing to speak from only one side of his mouth, “Did you see the @!$*&# McKinney deal last week? Holy $#%#! Those #$$#* #$!%&*$’s made a *@#$!& killing.”
I’ve asked him to tone it down, but I still don’t dare put him on speakerphone.
After ten years of working together, Kevin has proven to be a reliable and loyal confidante, a seasoned expert in his field. We discussed an expansion strategy, and evaluated several options, each representing different segments of this particular industry. There were many potential directions we could go, and they all looked good to me. Kevin listened patiently as I worked up a lather of grandiose possibilities. When I was finished, he sat back with his arms crossed, contemplating my manic rant.
“Listen,” he said in a somber tone. “I’ve seen people make really bad decisions chasing whatever deal comes along, just because they want to look busy, to keep active.” I winced a little bit. “Choose one segment and stay #$%!& focused on it, man!”
We were quiet for a moment, then he leaned forward and lowered his voice.
“Sometimes the hardest thing is to just stand still.”