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Business is not war unless you declare it to be

November 27, 2011

I recently received a link to an article which contained some useful information but the underlying assumptions were disturbing to me.

The article is basically a long pep talk for artists and designers whom, the author cites, seem to regularly get taken advantage of by their clients, and rarely make serious money.

There is good advice in there, but I have a real problem with the basic tone, which is so aggressive, it comes close to cancelling out any of the useful points.  What disturbs me about this is the arena in which this young man has chosen to operate. It frames business as war where only the powerful can win and the weak (or good soldiers as he calls them) always get taken advantage of. The business concepts on which the arguments are based assume the worst about human nature so that all the tactics presented are about self-preservation and intimidating others before they get a chance to intimidate you.

The author spends a lot of time explaining how to force others to meet your needs, and how to demand respect.

Well, respect can’t be ‘demanded’, it needs to be earned. And nowhere in his 15 page article did I find a word about respecting your client- her intelligence, his creativity, her ability and desire to create a good working situation for you.

Words such as fight, attack and escalate are used regularly throughout the article.
Business as self-preservation and getting ahead at all costs, and being able to dropping the right influential names, and mentioning one’s 5-6 figure monthly salary, are presented as The definition of success. It is a paradigm which is unfortunately so widespread that most people can’t even see that this is a choice.

My experience is that if you live in a world defined by these parameters, this is exactly what you will get; you’ll feel pressured to always maintain a warrior stance in order to survive. And you won’t be able to see kindness and generosity, even when it is right under your nose, because you won’t be looking for it.

There were a few things I did like about the article, scroll down to see next post.

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