Have you seen the news lately? Are you serious?
Thousands of headlines about a dead pop star from the 80’s. Hundreds on the antics of Italy’s colourful Prime Minister. And one lone interesting headline about airlines proposing standing-room flights.
Made me think of one of my favorite quotes.
“Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas.”
Google attributes that quote to the late Admiral Hyman Rickover, attributed to be the father of the nuclear Navy. Wikipedia says the admiral was “Hyperactive, political, blunt, confrontational, insulting, flamboyant, and an unexcelled workaholic who was always demanding of others – without regard for rank or position – as well as himself.” It also quotes he had “little tolerance for mediocrity, none for stupidity.” And a friend of the Admiral's quipped, “If a man is dumb, Rickover thinks he ought to be dead.”
Over the top? Maybe. But man, what a kick it would have been to spend an hour or two talking with him. Doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would spend much time kibitzing about Michael Jackson.
Speaking of great conversations - I’ve done a lot of customer visits lately. And on those visits the second most fun thing to do (it’s a close runner-up to lunch and margaritas) is give a catalog tour.
Sound tedious? Not so. In fact, it’s something I get asked for all the time. Now, there is a set of B&B catalog subscribers that have professed to taking each new copy straight to the loo and reading it cover to cover. But, not all of you take the time to read it so thoroughly. That’s the crowd that really gets something out of Mike’s magical catalog tour.
Now, the Admiral might point out that I’m talking about things and peg me as an average mind. But that doesn’t last long. It leads to ideas – and that’s where magic happens. Energy flows. What started out as just another meeting turns into an engineer’s jam session. I lay down the bass line with the catalog. At the 5th chord change (that would be around page 14) Sean’s head pops out of his laptop starts to bob up and down. Sean was sitting in the back of the room - closest to the door - because he’s juggling so many projects that he’s been planning to bail the second I start wasting his time (I like Sean, he’s a lot like me). But I just scratched Sean’s itch. I introduced him to a wireless I/O solution that would have saved his bacon back in March out at that tank farm – and he wants to know if it might help him solve his pumping station project right now. Sean just became my drummer. He’s firing questions in a fast staccato injecting a dynamic energy into the room.
Sean commands respect with his team. His rhythm has pulled in Luke and Emma and now they’re dropping some nice riffs of their own. Luke just latched on to a fiber concept that explains why his traffic monitoring system has been acting up. Emma started jumping ahead into a bit of sight reading and couldn’t wait for the rest of us to catch up and propels us into a new key with her electrical substation communication problem.
Then trouble – David is the group manager and he wants in on the frenzy of energy. It’s 50/50 whether David is going to play some sweet melody on his horn or if he’s going to squawk like an out of tune oboe with a broken reed. I’m in luck – David is a seasoned engineer, not a pointy hair boss and now the room is really rocking.
Customer meetings like that get me jazzed up. We’re talking ideas. Not people, not things, but ways to make things faster, safer, cleaner, more productive – better for everyone.
The next time you turn on CNN, don’t let it drain the life out of you. Skip past the drivel about people. Jump over the crud about events. I know that doesn’t leave much – so seek out a news source that will nurture ideas – not suck the lifeblood from your soul.
And as always, I’m here to help.
In fact – we recently put a brand new catalog into the mail. You’ve got to have a copy for yourself. Use it to nurture your own great ideas and cultivate new ones. For the sake of great minds everywhere, request your copy at http://bb-europe.com/catalog_request.asp.
Happy Connections and Profound Thoughts,