Emotions are contagious.

Mr. Market is a manic depressive. Watch out for him.
Be greedy when others are fearful.
Emotions are contagious.

Emotional states are contagious.

Enthusiastic highs are contagious. Dreaded emotional lows and misery are also contagious. Like Mr. Market, it seems we are quick to forget this when we choose who we hang out with the most. The emotional tone of an organization, for-profit or not-for-profit, starts at the top and trickles down. This is a common, wildly unfortunate, leadership error in lack of oversight and properly thinking things through. If you don’t want your people to act like banshees, than you yourself should not act like a banshee. If you don’t want your people to yell at each other all day, then you yourself ought not yell at your lieutenants all day. If you don’t want your people to cheat, then you yourself should never cheat. It is a straightforward formula: embody the values you wish to see in others. Always keep in mind that people look up to you whether you want them to or not. By default, we’re wired to admire our leadership.

“We do not provide management.”

Now, look at what Buffett does when he acquires a company. He thanks the founders and leadership team for doing such a wonderful job thus far and he ensures they stay on with the firm. He doesn’t want them going anywhere. As he states, “We do not provide management.” He also does not pillage the existing company. He leaves it alone. He also doesn’t have to provide the founders with wild buy-out packages or crazy salaries and bonuses. “They’re already rich,” he says. Buffett also involves Wall Street or investment bankers as little as possible in the transaction. “We don’t need the help,” he says. Buffett gives the acquired company access to Berkshire’s credit lines and AAA credit rating, and invests the acquired company’s future profits into his firm. And off they go together. Two years later, the acquired company looks very similar to what it did pre-acquisition. The same cannot be said of what most acquired companies look like in your typical Merger & Acquisition. Most acquired companies are fractions of what they once were.

My way or the highway — Microsoft’s historical culture.

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Jeffrey Bonkiewicz

Jeffrey Bonkiewicz

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I’m a sales, marketing and tech Pro who creates content designed to help people solve problems and shift perspectives.