Monday, May 20, 2013

Between The Heart
and The Head

Originally from A Captured Mind Newsletter...

Image courtesy of scottchan at
Imagine your closest friend decided to move away suddenly in the middle of the night. What would you do? Search high and low or just forget about it? In today’s business environment that’s exactly what has happened: whether a customer or your workforce, people have moved to where they believe there is adventure. 
If you are a Baby Boomer, born between 1946 and 1965, you were raised to obey the rules and follow the system. Authority figures are to be respected. Over a 20-year career you were supposed to get the corner office, a great salary and younger workers were going to look up to you and respect you for all your accomplishments.

How’s that working out so far?

Now if you are Generation Y, those born between 1977 and 1993, you’ve been raised to be entrepreneurs, question the old and create the new, and push against authority, question the status quo and never, ever take a job doing something you do not love.

Boomers versus Gen Y is the difference between logic and passion. The head versus the heart. Let me relay a story this month that I feel is important as we try to figure out the nature of business in The Information Age…

Russell Conwell was a soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War in 1862. Conwell wrote such graphic and detailed reports of events on the battlefield, that he earned a position as field correspondent for 2 major newspapers immediately after the war.

On one of his assignments, as he accompanied a group of British tourists on tour around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, where he met an old Arab tour guide in Baghdad. The tour guide told him the fable that became the foundation of his life’s philosophy—and the cornerstone of his now famous speech, Acres of Diamonds:

Once upon a time, an old Buddhist priest seemed to capture the attention of a young, but wealthy Persian farmer named Ali Hafed. Although Ali had everything he needed— orchards, grain-fields, gardens and a beautiful home for his family—the priest captured his imagination with an amazing story of rich diamond fields of such beauty and wealth, men from all over sought their glistening vistas. What intrigued the farmer the most was that there were so many diamonds, you didn’t even have to mine them…just pick them from the ground. Very little effort with an astounding return. It more than captured the farmer’s imagination, it made him depressed. Even though the day before Ali had been content, he now discovered, that he wasn’t wealthy at all in comparison to one who could own a diamond mine.

The priest continued  to regale Ali…
“if you had one diamond, let’s say, the size of your thumb, from this field, you could purchase the entire county… and if you had a mine of such diamonds you could place your own children into positions of power and influence.”

So, despite all his wealth, Ali Hafed sold his fertile lands, put his family up with a neighbor, and set off for the rich diamond fields…far, far, away from where he lived. 

Although the priest gave him the directions to the diamond fields, Ali Hafed traveled for years, lost everything he held dear, became ragged and destitute, and eventually threw himself into the ocean to die.

Ironically, the new owner of Ali’s land began to explore his newly purchased property. While his camel took a drink from a stream, he noticed a flash of light from the sands under the water. There before him was a small but strange black rock that seemed to contain every color of the rainbow. He placed the rock on the mantle of his fireplace and forgot about it.

You can probably guess the rest of the story…

The old Buddhist priest returned to visit Ali Hafed’s successor, and seeing the stone on the mantle burst out loud from excitement “you found the diamond mine!” For a moment he believed that perhaps Ali had returned. Had he found the fields of diamonds that the priest had talked about? 

The new owner scoffed.  “That’s no diamond, it’s just a rock I found in a stream.” But the old Buddhist priest insisted “I know diamonds, and THAT is the rarest of all…the black diamond!”

They both ran outside digging in the white sand. To their surprise, these black diamonds, the rarest of diamonds, were everywhere!

IF the original owner Ali Hafed had stayed, he would now be the owner of the Golconda Diamond Mine. 

The moral of the story is simple: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Sometimes, actually most times, your own success is not in some lofty business plan or big idea, but right here in your own back yard.

Russell Conwell returned to The United States immediately after he heard that fable…worked for his doctorate and founded Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Conwell realized that his fortune—his Acres of Diamonds—was right in his own backyard of The United States.

As you scramble to learn the keys to success during uncertain times, and from each author and success coach, remember to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Look into the very people you have known in business for years. Your success is right at your fingertips.

What could you create from what you already have? 

Thanks again,

Brad Szollose
Generational expert, award-winning author, business consultant and keynote speaker

Brad Szollose is a much sought-after generational expert, management consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand just how much technology has transformed corporate culture and behavior…and how that impacts management interaction, expectations and sales in The Digital Age.

But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 year career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop to an internationally recognized brand.

Brad is a former C-Level Internet Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. 

His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Brad Szollose is also the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Szollose received the highest testimonial of his career from a C-Level audience member: "I just had my mind blown." Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, humorous, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.

Liquid Leadership has been called "THE guidebook for the 21st Century" and has won the 2011 Axiom Business Book Award silver medal for leadership, The Indie Business Book runner up silver medal as well as becoming a #1 Best-Selling Business Book on Amazon for Organizational Learning. Published in the United States by Greenleaf Book Group, in India by Prolibris and in South Korea by UI Books/Iljinsa Publishing.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

Today, Brad helps businesses close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a Cultural Divide – created by the new tech-savvy worker...and customer. 

* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.