Why I’m Different Than You

I’m not different than just most of you. I’m different than every single person reading this post. Even if every person on the planet read this post I’d still be different than every other person reading this post. 

Just different. Not better. Not worse. Just different. 

You’re different too. Different than every other person on earth. Not better. Not worse. Just different. 

When we learn to appreciate those differences magical things can happen. Sadly, it took me longer to learn that than I wish it had. But as they say, better late than never. 

I did a Sales and Leadership class a couple of years ago, literally days before the pandemic started, with a group of sales professionals from around Asia and Indonesia. If I recall correctly there were Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesians in the class. This group couldn’t have been more different from me if they were from another planet. 

I think, I hope, that I taught them a lot. But I know they taught me more than I taught them. I learned a lot about sales from them and I learned a lot more about leadership from them too. But there were two things in particular that I learned that still stand out. 

One was that the challenges they faced in selling were very much the same as anywhere else in the world. The buyer/seller relationship is incredibly important whatever culture you might be selling in. 

But the biggest thing I learned was that no matter how different people might be from me, those differences are nothing when compared with what we have in common. Yes, there are certainly cultural differences but those are differences based on where we happen to come from, they are not based on who we are. 

Most of the differences I have from other people are created from my “life lens.” I may have experienced everything that you have experienced but my upbringing, my environment, my family and friends will all shape my life lens. That’s how I view each experience. Unless you’re actually me, you couldn’t view every experience exactly as I have. 

The statement, “if I were you I’d feel exactly the same” is a very fair statement to make. If you had their life lens you would feel exactly as they do. But you have a difference lens based on your personal experiences than every other person on earth. You can have a very similar life lens, but not an identical one. 

Once you understand that, the differences between you and other people will matter a whole lot less. Once you understand that, you open yourself to learning about and seeing the world through the lens of other people. 

When you learn through the life lens of other people you begin to value those differences and the diversity that comes with them. You understand that even though there may be some significant differences we’re all vastly more similar than we are different. 

Once we understand all that we become less likely to judge other people and more likely, far more likely, to simply try to understand and appreciate them. 

On a another subject…I’m trying something new over on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than regular Twitter followers. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may just be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

People Were People Before They Were Your People

So this is a post that will likely cause me some trouble with the politically correct crowd. That’s because I’m going to rip on, just a little, all the new fancy titles we now see. Chief Inclusion Officer is one that comes to mind. Except some companies have decided “chief” is now offensive so they can’t use that title anymore. 

Companies seem to be in a rush to add titles with the words diversity, inclusion, equality and the like. There are so many “buzz word” titles floating around that I couldn’t possible mention them all. These companies are trying to prove that everyone in their organization is valuable. Which is a worthy thing to do. But I have a question.

Instead of endowing people with fancy titles that say “we care” how about actually caring? How about showing you care for everyone equally instead of saying it again and again?

I have tremendous faith in people’s ability to figure out if the place they work gives a damn about them. Somebody in the company with a progressive sounding job title isn’t going to fool them. 

Which brings me to more traditional sounding titles and departments. Like Human Resources. Or maybe a little more modern sounding Human Asset Management Department. Or my personal least favorite, Human Capital Resource Group. 

The problem with departments or groups with those names is it sets up the mindset that people should be managed like any other piece of capital or asset. I had the unhappy experience about 18 months ago of sitting next to a consultant during a dinner. We struck up a conversation about how their consultancy advises their clients. 

He said that when they recommend downsizing they look at job titles, work responsibilities, cost of “asset,” and how much longer the asset would be of value. They do not recommend the termination of anyone by name, that makes it too personal and may cause the management of the client company to hesitate. 

It’s sort of the same thought process as when a farmer won’t name a pig or a cow that they intend to eat one day. 

The consultant doesn’t really care how a client company thinks of their people, so long as they don’t think of them as people. They are merely assets or capital like a copier or computer. You pay them and you own them. 

But here’s the thing. They ARE people. They have always been people. They will always be people. You may pay them but you don’t own them. 

Businesses that forget that their primary business is the people business will not last. It makes no difference what you see or what you make, you are in the people business. Your people were people long before they were your people. 

It is beyond foolish for you as a leader to expect your people to care for your business or it’s customers when the best you can do is give someone in the company a new-age title that shows how progressive your organization is. People don’t care how progressive the company is when the people running the company don’t demonstrate that the company cares about them. 

When the company shows they care about their people, all their people, equally, they don’t need fancy titles. If the company fails to show they care about their people no amount of fancy titles will convince them otherwise. 

Inclusion, honoring diversity, and treating everyone equally won’t come from titles or committees, it comes from an Authentic Leader demonstrating those values on a daily basis. 

New Thinking

Most people like to hang around with people who are like them. They listen to people who think like they do. They talk to people who talk like them. They believe people who believe the things they believe. 

 

It is reassuring to have someone tell you that your thinking is correct. It is confidence building to have someone you think is often right tell you that you also are most often right. 

 

It is comfortable to not have your thinking or beliefs challenged by someone who thinks or believes differently than you do. 

 

It is also very limiting to your success. 

 

The most successful people listen to new ideas and concepts as often as they can find them. They listen to opinions different than their own with as open a mind as they can muster. They do not dismiss another person’s ideas because the person “is not like them” or because they have a very different background. 

 

The most successful people know that everyone they meet knows at least one thing that they don’t know. They are always on the lookout for that one thing. 

 

Successful people understand the reality that they will learn far more from people who think differently than they do then they will learn from people who think and act just like them. 

 

New thoughts and new ideas come from new listening. They come from interacting and conversing with people who might never be your friend but who can certainly be your teacher. 

 

Who knows, you might discover you have more in common than you would have ever imagined. If fact, you may have a new friend in the making. Get out of your comfort zone and reach beyond your circle of like-minded friends. If you want to expand your thinking then you will need to expand the type of people you let inside your head. 


New success seldom comes from old thinking. Refresh your thoughts and you just might discover a whole new level of success. 


Why Different is Good

Being better tomorrow than you are today requires that you do something different today than you did yesterday.

 

I think most of us, I know it’s true for me, are creatures of habit. I like doing the same things with the same people pretty much all the time. The people I like the most are the people who are just like me, they believe the same things I believe, the say the same things I say and they like to do the same stuff I like to do…or at least mostly. One thing not everybody I know likes to do is embrace different viewpoints. 

 

Now truth be told I don’t know if I actually “like” embracing different viewpoints but I do need to. I need to because I have a hunger to learn. I am a student of people and that means I need to understand them…no matter how different their life might be from my own.

 

Here’s the reality, and it’s not just my reality, it is your reality too… As much as I like being around people who are just like me I don’t learn very much from them. We are in agreement on most things, someone in the group says something and everyone nods their head in agreement. “You got that right” is a common refrain. 

 

It isn’t that I like disagreement or being disagreeable but often times it is in that discussion that follows disagreement that you learn. If, and it’s a big IF, if you are open to learning. If you honestly work to truly see things from the other person’s point of view. If you don’t just automatically think they are wrong because they don’t think like you or your friends.

 

It’s pretty tough to learn something new from people who are just like you. It’s even harder to learn something new from people who think exactly as you do. 

 

Never underestimate the fact that you could be wrong, about most anything. You might be the smartest person in the room, you may hold the loftiest position in your organization but that doesn’t automatically make you right about everything.

 

Search out people different than yourself. Invest time in understanding them. Don’t prejudge someone just because they “aren’t like you.” Listen to them and listen to understand them rather than listening for the sole purpose of responding. Understand that there isn’t anyone on earth who doesn’t have or know something they can teach you.

 

Read books with viewpoints you disagree with. Have lunch with someone you wouldn’t normally have a beer with after work. Watch FOX News AND CNN. (That’s almost like living in two different worlds) Genuinely try to see multiple sides of every argument. 


Don’t sacrifice your core values and principles but do try to understand where other people are coming from. Your may discover that if you were them you would think and act just like them. You’re likely to still disagree but at least you’ll understand why. You’ll almost certainly learn something about them and the odds are very good that you’ll learn even more about yourself.