If I think a person I work with should meet a specific person, I invariably say, “She’s one of us.”
If, on the other hand, I have to recommend avoidance of a certain person I say, “She is not our people.”
Both I and those to whom I’m giving my opinion know precisely what I mean.
Jan Wenner, upon seeing the iconic photo of the Infinite Jest-era David Foster Wallace (but before reading word one of DFW’s work) reportedly said, “Oh, he’s one of us.” He then dispatched a writer to profile Wallace.
I think we all know who “our people” are.[*]
Remember to build companies with and for these people.
Remember it’s ok to fire your employees and customer if they’re not one of you.
If you mis-judged (or, more likely, didn’t trust your initial instinct) and are working with the wrong person/serving the wrong customer, make a change fast. Doing so not only benefits you, but will allow the person you mis-judged to more quickly find his own people.
Speaking of “our people,” don’t forget to sign up for the 9GiantSteps email newsletter group. It’s a fantastic group of like-minded people to whom I send out SHORT email blasts presenting a digest of links and music of interest to our growing community.
Tags: david foster wallace, management, strategy