Tea in the Saucer

My friend, Klaus, explained to me that there is a very simple way to evaluate a restaurant manager for a job. It was 1979 in the Bulawayo Holiday Inn, Rhodesia. I was the Food and Beverage Manager and Klaus was my head chef. He suggested I place a spoon on the floor and move a few of the utensils on the table so that they were skew. Then, ask the applicant to walk ahead of me through the restaurant. If she straightens the knives and forks and picks up the spoon on the floor on her way, she’s right for the job. If she ignores or, worse still, is unaware of the chaos, she’s a loser. If your account spills tea in your saucer, when serving it and he doesn’t replace the saucer, he’s probably just as lackadaisical when it comes to doing your books.

A large American company used to present the people on their short list for a top job with a trip to Las Vegas, all expenses paid, expense account, three days and only two hours a day of meetings. There was method in their madness; they would very carefully watch the delegates during their stay. The smokers, the drinkers, the gamblers, the promiscuous and the lazy would quickly be removed from the short list. What one does in one’s private life, behind closed doors, is a reflection of who one really is.

If someone’s personal life is chaotic, disorganized and / or badly managed, it will be reflected in his or her business ethics and activities. If they are slovenly, loose, immoral, lazy or undisciplined in their personal lives, you will see a mirror image in their business practices. A meticulous, ordered, and loyal home life will spill over into business. You cannot insulate the two. One will affect the other. If people don’t maintain long-term relationships in the personal lives, don’t expect their loyalty in business. If they cheat of their spouses, expect them to cheat you in business. If they leap from partner to partner, or if they’re gold-diggers or flirts, they are sending you a very clear message. These are not people to joint venture with.

Let me tell you about my best friend, Marnus Roothman. If you have my latest book, you’ll see it’s dedicated to him. I met Marnus thirteen years ago, just before his fiftieth birthday party. He invited me and another 54 people to his party. 52 showed up. He is a highly respected entrepreneur who is absolutely trustworthy. As he is at home, so he is in business. Just like you. Just like me. And just like everyone else. So, if you want to know how someone will behave in business, take a good look at their home life. It’s like a crystal ball, only it works. Business is a reflection of personal. Remember that.

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