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Since this is my blog, I feel like I can divert from B2B sales and marketing for a moment to talk about two profound lessons from my old boss Stu Silverman that made me better and guide my management philosophies today. First thing is: I always talk about Stu. When you have a real mentor, that is what happens. I regard him so highly because I not only enjoyed working for him: I left his organization a better leader, businessperson, and a better guy.
Anyway, I love sharing the things he used to always tell me which I took with me that guide how I run my life and my business and what I expect from my team. One is what I call the “Henry Kissinger/is that your best work?” story. First let me give you the context. Stu worked in DC not for Henry Kissinger but near Henry Kissinger. It felt like myth to me until I asked my best buddy who is a major hitter on the Beltway. I said, ”You know my boss always tells this Henry Kissinger story.” He said: “You mean the ‘is this your best work’ one?” Bingo…it was real. Then this little web application called Google came along and I found out that this is Washington DC legend not myth, not folklore but legend. The simple story has guided tens of thousands more people than me.
If you look on the web for this story, people substitute “who” it was dealing with Kissinger (chief of staff, etc). Also, the time in between “is this your best work” varies. The story is set during Kissinger’s run as Secretary of State. This is how the story was told to me:
- One of Kissinger’s young associates was asked to write a report on XXX. He worked furiously to get it done. He walks into Kissinger’s office to deliver the report. Kissinger asks very simply: “Is this your best work?” The associate says “yes,” Kissinger says again, “Is this your best work?”. The associate knows it’s not his best, just good enough and grabs it, announces “I can do better” and goes back to work on it.
- After two all nighters, he brings rev 2 to Kissinger, who asks “Is this your best work?” The associate realizing it is still not his best work, grabs it back and goes back to work.
- Finally, the associate walks into Kissinger’s office, hands him the report, and says: “Mr. Kissinger, here is my best work.” Kissinger replies: “Great, now I will read your report.”
The job of The Funnelholic is not to go Tony Robbins on people and is certainly not to preach. But the role of The Funnelholic blog is to share what is in my head every once in awhile…and add some value and have some fun every once in awhile. All I have to say about this is that “good enough” is not “good enough” and never will be. And when I am on the verge of getting in front of a client or presenting to my boss, I always ask myself “Is this my best work?”