Last week, I met an old business acquaintance, and as always we talked about the different people we have met in life. The ones we worked with as colleagues or whom we reported or sold to. Some you will remember your whole life, whereas some others you really try to forget.
I mentioned a mental list I’ve drawn up of different kinds of ‘business ducks’. Starting with the ‘Odd Duck’ and the newly created categories to the extreme: ‘Funny’ and ‘Psycho’. The Odd Duck are just funny and OK to work with, nothing special. They pass and you stay in touch on LinkedIn or Xing.
But you will remember the ones in the ‘outside categories’. My friends for life are often made in the Funny Duck category. People you connected with, whom you shared your dreams and fears. The ones you told you were becoming a father, or that your mother just died. They would do the same to you and we would just hug or ‘high-five’ on Skype, depending on the situation. I’ve still got many friends in business whom I know well, even when the direct business ties are gone. It’s just good to talk to them again, or preferably meet in person when you are around.
The business relations that will also stay with you for life, despite efforts to delete them from memory, are the ‘Psycho Ducks’. The people who were just interested in themselves and their career. Who didn’t want to talk about the relativity of things and never showed their emotions. Or worse, the narcissists who think the whole world orbits around their pitiful person. Who bullied other people, including yourself, played with contracts and didn’t keep their promises. Showing their domination, often with a high IQ but mostly with very little EQ.
Funnily enough, the lists on both ends of my business spectrum are quite evenly filled. I’ve once started writing down my mental lists and they showed a good balance. Well, that’s life, I guess. One thing I learned from all this: always try to stay the Funny Duck yourself and make new friends, keep doing business with the unavoidable Odd Ducks but learn to avoid the Psycho Ducks.