Put trust in ideas.
Years ago, I was head of procurement at one of G.E.’s business units.
If the computer “instructed” me to purchase something, I’d triple source it.
And then negotiate the absolute best pricing and delivery.
It was adversarial and tactical.
I was simply reacting to my circumstances.
I knew it.
And our suppliers felt it.
Kind of like Walmart’s suppliers feel it today.
As well as scores of media salespeople and agency reps.
But here’s the key insight.
Every once in a while a design engineer would walk into my office.
And he’d demand that I source a unique component.
One that would give us a strategic edge in the marketplace.
And when that happened, my leverage with suppliers disappeared.
Despite my posturing and arm twisting, they had the edge.
And they knew it.
So with smiles on their faces, they “worked with me.”
I wasn’t very happy during those circumstances.
But our engineers were happy.
Our customers were delighted.
Our marketplace status and margins improved.
And those suppliers’ salespeople were tickled green.
Despite my feelings, it was a win-win-win-win.
The same is true in every domain.
Who ever has the best ideas wins.
Sure, in many cases it’s a short-lived win.
But it’s a win nonetheless.
And the kind of win that every person in it for the long term is after.
Emerson wrote, “It is a lesson which all history teaches the wise.
To put trust in ideas, and not in circumstances.”
Circumstances appear to drive the bulk of today’s decisions.
In business, politics, and everyday life.
Everyone is consumed with their feelings.
And present state of affairs.
Status, position, identity and personality.
Don’t let that myopic view consume you.
Stop looking at yourself.
And instead, look at your environment.
Believe in your abilities.
Have faith in your ideas.
And then make those ideas everyone’s reality.