EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I guess there has indeed been a total breakdown of law and order. Not only are many people ignoring their email, they are also apparently ignoring their phone calls.

I don’t often make cold calls to support our consulting practice. Most of our clients in The FECG are actually members. And, all of our candidates for assignments are members, so I guess each of you in your own way have me spoiled rotten.

Once last year I made over 50 phone calls to Private Equity Groups to generate assignments. I think I actually reached and spoke to only 3 people (other than administrative assistants), the rest of the time I went into voice mail. I’ve been in business with since 1999, and I have always believed I leave pretty compelling messages. I guess I’m wrong.

Is it possible that the world is over communicating? Call me old fashioned or a compulsive (and I’ve been called worse), but other than spam, I respond to all of the emails I get and I return all of the phone calls I get. (And, as you can imagine, I get quite a few.)

I must confess that it does take me a while some weeks to get back to everyone. It has always been my belief that there are no unimportant people in the world. I suppose there are some, but the problem is that they don’t know that they are.

I hope that at least within The FENG the importance of treating each other properly is well understood. Let me start you off with the idea that every member of The FENG was sponsored by a friend. So, everyone you reach out to, and everyone who reaches out to you, is a friend of a friend.

Although Will Rogers apparently didn’t meet some of the folks I have met over my career, by and large his much repeated thought that “I never met a man I didn’t like” is what I live by. If you get past the barriers that people often put up that prevent you from getting to know them, there is always a core that when revealed can easily be the start of a “beautiful friendship.”

Let me build on Will’s thought with some business common sense on the importance of returning all phone calls and emails. If you talk to anyone long enough, you can almost always find some way of “doing business” with them. Whether that means you have a friend who should meet them, or they have a friend you should meet, or in the most simple transaction, that the two of you have a commonality of interests.

All it takes is a little “suspension of disbelief” and you can be well on your way to creating a beneficial relationship that would never have happened if you hadn’t taken the simple risk and extended the great courtesy of responding to a communication.

I would encourage all of you to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

The over communication that exists in the world is here to stay. We need to work together to prevent “the breakdown of law and order.” I hope all of you will help me make the world a better place.

If only we knew why they call it “common courtesy” when it is so rare.

Regards, Matt

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