The Rule to Follow Before Making a Positive Change

Honesty that does not have the best interest of the other person at heart is really a cruel form of selfishness – Dr. James Dobson

Every year, my spouse and I get invited to a company party that is essentially a mixer of sorts and it is hosted by the corporation’s foundation. You know of that which I speak of. Employees of different corporations get together for the evening to mingle and it usually includes an open bar and an endless supply of the usual finger foods such as nachos and sliders. This is the special night where awards are given and donations are solicited as well, and it is a big deal within the company.

I also usually wear something with a bit of give to it because food always tastes better when I don’t have to cook it. Therefore, I know I’m going to be miserably full and that is my goal by the end of the evening.

I am also very excited to attend this event, even though it can be a bit overwhelming for some people. I get to spend the evening talking to older corporate individuals and gleaning from their wisdom. It is also at this same event where I met an individual that we will call “Dan.”

Dan is in his late 70’s and used to be over the entire company at one point. He now works as an outside consultant so he still has an association with the company that was throwing the party. The first night I met him a few years ago, he grabbed my hand, put his forehead to mine, and whispered sweet words that the two of us could only hear. That action resonated with me.

The last time he saw my spouse, he sent chocolate home to me (this man is GOOD.) It was the milk chocolate kind with the caramel inside and it totally made my day. I now had a huge stash to eat by myself as I hid from my children in my closet ( he never said I had to share.)

Dan is known for donating to the foundation on a regular basis. I also witness individuals flocking to him to shake his hand when he walks in the door and stories being told about him when he was the leader of the company. Stories about how he would give you the shirt off his back, nip negative office politics in the rear, or when tears would be in his eyes if he had to lay off an employee. Dan is highly respected to this day and when he speaks, everyone listens. Dan connects to everything around him at some level.

Dan strikes me as the type of individual that will have standing room only when he leaves this earth and others come to pay their respects.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be like him when I grow up.

A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting with a new nonprofit organization. We hammered out the details of their mission and goals and then commenced to discuss potential problems meeting a specific goal. We decided that the goal could only be met with parental cooperation of the children that the organization was trying to assist.

One of the board members inquired as to if it would help if she went to go introduce herself to a parent and have a discussion about why the parent should support the mission of the organization. This proposed action was to basically inform the parent that their actions up to that particular point were thought of as wrong and how they needed to correct their behavior for their children’s sake.

Talk about a grey area…..

Does anyone remember me saying that the last time I checked, the proverbial road to hell was NOT paved with doughnuts?

I thought for a second….

Then I flat out told her “no.”

For me, it is not a wise idea to start giving personal advice to someone you do not know very well. I do not find it a good idea to go around calling an “ace an ace and a spade a spade.”

I feel this is the rule to follow before making a positive change.

”Build relationships first, then talk to the parents,” I told her. “Or you run the risk of royally ticking someone off, and then they will not have anything to do with you, and the child will suffer for it.”

Anyway, I told you those two stories so I can now tell you this:

I suspect it may not be wise to expect someone else to listen to what you have to say unless you have earned the right for them to respect you. Nobody will listen to any opinion pertaining to their personal business unless they hold your opinion in high regard. The respect comes from both parties connecting on an intimate level, establishing trust, and having each other’s best interest at heart.

If anything, Dan taught me that and it is a rule that I think pertains to both the business and philanthropic sector in order to build a solid foundation. I also think giving chocolate helps with building the foundation too….but that’s just me 😉


Until Next Time,

Sarah C.

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Disclaimer ****The material appearing in this publication is for informational purposes only, and is not certified professional advice. Please do not act on any information contained herein without seeking competent professional counsel.

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