Is Gossip Good for Business?

"Gossip Girls" by Art G. via CC BY 2.0

Gossip is a dirty word. It’s condemned by parents, community leaders and business professionals the world over. Yet, here’s an interesting tidbit: it’s essential to our way of life. What?!

“Even today the vast majority of human communication — whether in the form of emails, phone calls or newspaper columns — is gossip. It comes so naturally to us that it seems as if our language evolved for this very purpose.”

In Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Harari, PhD, argues that Homo sapiens (that would be us!) survived and even thrived when other human species failed due to our unique language capabilities, including the ability to gossip.

It’s not as crazy as you may think. When you break it down, gossip is conversation about other people. Who to trust, who has the best fresh vegetables and who is unsavory. As a small business owner, I want to know about a customer of other businesses who doesn’t pay their bills or a potential business partner who doesn’t know what ethical means. That’s knowledge that may save me lost revenue, lost time and serious aggravation down the road.

“The new linguistic skills that modern Sapiens acquired about seventy millennia ago enabled them to gossip for hours on end. Reliable information about who could be trusted meant that small bands could expand into larger bands, and Sapiens could develop tighter and more sophisticated types of cooperation.”

It’s similar to the proverbial ‘water cooler’ in the office. You may not want to get involved in office politics but that decision can derail your career. How often do employees label a manager or supervisor aloof or out of touch when he or she doesn’t have a beat on the pulse of the office? You need to know what’s going on — to some extent — in your coworkers’ and employees’ lives. As a business owner, I would even extend that to business partners and clients. It allows you to understand a situation, show empathy and act appropriately.

Is Gossip Good for Business?

Are you familiar with the gossip theory (in relation to evolution)?

Have you been affected by office politics — positively or negatively?

Is gossip good for business?

p.s. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a great read for history buffs and business professionals alike. Want an inkling into what makes people tick? You’ll get it here. Both quotes in this post are from this book.

p.p.s. Love this post’s featured image? Learn more about “Gossip Girls” by Art G. here. It’s used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Cheers,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on gossip, business, a new project or otherwise):
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I Love It When A Team Comes Together

I finished watching the A-Team series again, and it never gets old. The dynamic cast. The action. The explosions. The good guys always winning. But what I love the most about the A-Team is how well they function together. They realize that the four of them accomplish more together than they would individually. This doesn’t happen automatically; you have to assemble the right parts to produce a winning team.

Maybe you can call The A-Team!

The A-Team: (L-R) Lt Templeton “Faceman” Peck, Capt H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock, Sgt B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus & Col John “Hannibal” Smith
Photo courtesy of The A-Team Wiki


The wily leader
 Col John “Hannibal” Smith is the undisputed leader of the group, although he rules by respect, not fear. The other members of The A-Team trust him to lead them in the right direction. Hannibal isn’t afraid of jumping into the action either; he’s not a hands-off leader by any means. When he’s “on the jazz,” he’ll do just about anything. In addition to leadership, Col Smith is also an actor, so he’s a master of disguise. That talent comes in handy as The A-Team helps people in need while evading capture.

The charmer (who gets things done) Yes, he’s a con man, but Lt Templeton “Faceman” Peck always comes through. No matter what the group needs for its mission — wheels, weapons, a plane — he manages to deliver. Charm is an important, often overlooked, trait in today’s business world, as it helps gain the trust of your comrades and put them at ease. In addition to his schmoozing skills, Face serves as an adept second-in-command.

The skilled specialist (with a touch of craziness) Capt H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock is an amazing pilot who flies anything from jets to homemade craft projects with propellers. So often, he takes off just in the nick of time to help The A-Team evade the bad guys. Sure, he’s crazy, but is that a bad thing? Craziness (as long as it’s somewhat reined in by the rest of the team) can be productive. Ask any entrepreneur; you have to be a bit crazy to take that leap. The same has been said about people willing to take the big shots or tackle the most complex projects.

The attitude (with skill) Sgt Bosco Albert (B.A.) “Bad Attitude” Baracus brought the muscle. He was the group’s enforcer and bodyguard, but he was also the mechanic — a critical position. So many times, B.A. stepped in to make a tank out of a mere van or use basic supplies to build exactly what the team needed to complete the mission. A broken down pick-up that hadn’t run in 10 years? No problem, B.A. could fix it. He was truly worth his weight in gold (which happened to be around his neck). As a bonus, he also served as the getaway driver and was the proud owner of the famous A-Team van.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

The next time you’re assembling a team, take a look at great teams throughout history and study what made them tick. A team is more than a group of individuals; members’ strengths and talents must fit together to move the team forward toward a common goal. If you accomplish that, you can steal a line from the famous cigar-smoking Colonel of the A-Team.

“I love it when a plan comes together.” –Col John “Hannibal” Smith


Let’s Discuss

Who was your favorite member of The A-Team?

What team throughout history has impressed you?

What’s your advice for assembling a great team?

 

CCC’s fearless leader, Face(woman), pilot & muscle,
Jaime

Connect with CCC. We’ll make a great team!
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