The most elite business developers are not well known to the general public. There are consultants, coaches, and mentors who are integral to the world’s greatest successes. It used to be said that every great leader had a husband/wife/partner in the background to advise them, and without them, the great leader would be nothing. Well, this is changing in modern business development. The role of the partner is rapidly being taken over by business development professionals, who can make very good use of it, but never abuse, the position.
Pride and Prejudice
I have had many conversations in my own circles that focus on how a significant proportion of people want success so that they can proudly proclaim and celebrate the achievements they deserve. Everybody does it, and companies are looking for leaders who, after a while, are really motivated by success beyond money. Most agree with me about the above without exception. There is only one group where I feel like an alien who has just landed on an unknown planet in these conversations, and that is the business developers. I have had the opportunity (I don’t know whether to call it luck or not) to spend extended time with mentors. I’m talking about business mentors whose names I could write down, because it’s unlikely that anybody knows any of them. Of course, I can’t write them down because, on the one hand, it wouldn’t be fair, and, on the other hand, as a writer for a business development magazine, I would be seriously compromised. I’m used to being in the company of people where a professional can turn around the fortunes of a business in half an hour with a phone call, simply by reassuring the owner or even making a decision for him if that decision is critical to the future of the business. I am also not surprised that you never know who is on the other end of the phone, because no matter where the mentor answers the phone, you cannot identify who he is talking to. At least not from the details that can be picked up from the conversation, and if the subject turns sensitive, they are sure to leave the room, even if it is the most intimate of conversations with friends. It was also important for me to learn that there is no early morning or late evening, especially when a mentor is working in several countries and continents at the same time, because if necessary, they should always be reachable. It is also a characteristic of their behaviour that they check their phones very often, and no one takes it as rude if they leave a conversation without saying a word. That is because, when they receive important news that needs an immediate response, the other mentors know exactly what their friend is doing and why. So, it’s a strange circle, and it’s really a fantastic thing to get a glimpse into. Sure, you can very cleverly spot the novice mentor who wants to fix every problem immediately, but you can also tell after a while who is the one who has some serious experience and doesn’t answer the phone even if it rings three times for more than a minute in a row. And of course that is not because they are not interested in the company director, owner, athlete, or university president, but because they want to convey to them that it is not so important. Of course, to do this, you need to know exactly why they are looking for you. And all that without picking up the phone. To do this, you really need to know the business, the mindset of the businessperson, the decision-making challenges, so you need to know the mentored partner intimately. That’s why it’s an experience to approach this round with both the right humility and confidence. I thought I already knew this world, having been in it for years: I’ve seen world-famous startups go to market and I’ve seen the rebuilding of a declining international company, so I’ve experienced a lot from the outside, but still from a very close perspective. I was beginning to think I had seen almost everything, but then Tokyo came along.
To be continued…