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111 Key Principles for Success

Principle 79 - Meet in Person

While working at a hedge fund, my boss Jeff, the head trader, asked me to start looking into a trading system that we might use.

I started working with the guys that were located in Dallas Texas. One day my boss said "We're going to Texas tomorrow to meet the guys developing the trading system.

I thought my boss was nuts. Why would we want to travel so far and pay for us to meet some people?

The next day I was on a plane to Dallas with Jeff. The secretary had booked our flight, cabs, and hotels.

So we spent the day and night with these guys from Dallas. They took us out for dinner where I had Chicken Fried Steak. I must say it was delicious.

We had a great meeting with these guys. When I got back to New York, my relationship with the guys from Texas was completely different. To this day which is almost 15 years ago, I still remember the importance of meeting these guys in person.  It changed our relationship from one of untrust to one of trust. We trusted each other.

Another time in my career I went to Japan to help part of my company with software that I developed. I learned a lot of subtle things that you can't learn from a book or meeting with people over the phone.

Some of the lessons learned from my Japan trip: (note this doesn't apply to all Japanese people)
  • My Japanese co-workers love to drink
  • Do not get a business card and shove it in your pocket, you must study it
  • You have to learn the culture of the people you're doing business with
  • Japanese don't speak English as a second language. The French also have this

To my surprise, there were no signs in English or people who spoke English at a popular tourist attraction called the Tokyo Tower.  None of the signs had English characters on the Kanji characters.

Now in today's business environment, I have co-workers all over the world. If I want to form better relationships with them, the best way is to meet them in person. This applies to people who work in my building or nearby.

Even today, my boss works hundreds of miles away from me. I should be on a plane meeting him and my other bosses if I wanted to improve my relationship with them.

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