I had an experience today that is so the opposite of how I do business that I thought I’d blog about it. This way I can turn something negative into a positive by: a) stating how I do business; and b) blowing off some steam.
The Chinese character for Tao, translated directly, means “way” or “path” – or, sometimes more loosely translated, it means “doctrine” or “principle”.
One of the key principles of being a Martha Beck coach is that I adhere to what she’s called “the TAO of coaching”, standing for Transparency, Authenticity and Openness. This is totally consistent with my own personal doctrine of integrity, fairness and respect for others.
I also prefer to deal with other people who are transparent, authentic and open, which is why I was so peeved by what happened today. See, a week ago I got an email from an acquaintance telling me that she “was sitting with an incredibly successful businessman the other day and was intrigued with the project he is currently working on”.
“‘X’ (not his real name) heads up a team that is aligned with a consortium of international companies,” she continued, “and I know that he is looking to pair up with a few key, driven, successful people to expand business. I felt there might be some opportunity for you. Obviously I can’t promise you anything, but I have asked X to give you a call. I know he operates off an extremely hectic schedule, so if he manages to offer you some time, I would strongly suggest that you meet with him. I look forward to your feedback. Warm regards, ‘Y’ (not her real name).”
Being a curious and optimistic person who is growing a new business, I was intrigued. When X called me, I told him, in my TAO way, that I had left the corporate world and was focusing on my new passion of coaching. He said that teambuilding was a large part of his current endeavour and that it would be great if we could meet for a cup of coffee or a chat, just to see if there were possibilities.
And we did – but, despite vague allusions to what might be promising for my line of work, what he wanted was to sign me up as an Amway rep.
He didn’t start by telling me this, however. Instead, he spent half an hour on a spiel, diagramming things in a spiral-bound notebook, about how he and his “partners” were building a company with three pillars (assets, wellness and lifestyle); how the real path to wealth involves setting up “pipelines” so money flows to you without having to work; how the typical retail chain makes money you could be saving if you bought direct from the manufacturer … blah, blah … it only takes a few years and you move up from this percent of benefit to that percent of benefit … yak, yak, yak …
He never once said the word “Amway” – even though, at one point, I said, “Oh, like Amway”.
After a while, I asked for some TAO. I asked who else was on his team and which companies were part of the “consortium of international companies” and how he thought I would fit into the “project”.
Again referring to his sketches, X did finally say that Amway was the “supplier of the product” with which he and his “partners” were building their pipeline of wealth.
At last! Some TAO!
I have a friend and a cousin who sell Amway. I am very familiar with the company, its products and its business model. I could have told him this if he’d asked. I also could have told him that becoming an Amway rep is not for me – I love coaching and building this business.
If Y and X had their own TAO, they might have said, “we believe passionately in a business that offers world-class products at low prices and helps smart, energetic people build profitable businesses at the same time.”
I might have been interested and, even if I weren’t, we would have had an honest, TAO-ist dialogue. I might even have been inclined to recommend people I know who might be interested in something like building an Amway pipeline. Instead, I’m writing about how un-TAO X and Y were and how irritating I found the whole experience.
Pause, take a few deep breaths, and “Ommmmmmmmmmmmm…”
Ah, that’s better.
So, to anyone thinking of working with me: you’ll never get a spiel – you’ll get TAO right from the start. I’m proud of my business and what I offer! And that means:
That’s what I call working the TAO way.