Some Brick Walls are Made of Flesh


"Love is the virtue of the heart.

Sincerity is the virtue of the mind.

Decision is the virtue of the will.

Courage is the virtue of the spirit."

[Frank Lloyd Wright]


I came across this quote as I was reviewing old files in my home office yesterday. It was annotated behind a team dynamics diagram I was working with quite a few years back when we confirmed that sales is from Mars and marketing is from Venus.

You may remember when we talked about how you select your team. I start with the people — experience teaches you to recognize how the people in a business are focusing their promises. From the name they choose for the firm, to the smallest of details in the day to day running of the company.

At the time, we had a very experienced group of scientists, researchers, business development and customer and channel support people.

We used the diagrams to orient ourselves in relationship to each other — where our traits overlapped and how to relate to our differences recognizing them and still working to treat everyone with the respect we'd like to receive.

Just the opposite of the "politically correct" behavior, which purports to dictate that we treat everyone the same without recognizing their differences. That is a mistake. It is our differences, our strangeness as Mike Wagner put it in his TEDxDesMoines talk, that we should recognize and embrace.

Treating everyone the same after we've recognized we are different, now that is leadership. First we need to see. Rand Fishkin's approach to performance reviews at SEOMoz is a good example of this principle.

As the late Randy Pausch said, remember that brick walls are there to train and demonstrate your resolve, not to keep you out. Some brick walls are made of flesh. If you're going to do anything pioneering, you will get arrows in the back.

This is very similar to what I remind myself — you know you're onto something when you encounter opposition. One further thought: Are you the brick?

Remember, there is a Randy Pausch in each person.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
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