Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just A Fad

My grandfather said that hamburgers were just a fad.

I'm serious.

Back in the 50's when McDonald's was first taking off in Southern California, my grandfather had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. I don't know if he actually knew Richard and Maurice McDonald, or if this was an investment opportunity or just the chance to own one of the first franchises. Either way, he turned it down. Scoffed at it, actually, saying "hamburgers are just a fad."  75 years and billions and billions sold later, I personally wish he had jumped on board. I wish he had bought in. I wonder what it was that kept him from it, actually.
Did he not see the cultural trend? 
Did they have a flawed business model? 
Or was it just a [dead wrong] gut instinct?

Decades later, he would brag about this lost opportunity, as if "just being nominated" was, in fact, enough of an honor...

Similarly, my father-in-law, God bless him, was offered two jobs in the same month at different web development companies. The one he took was the smarter option. The company was well-established, served an international clientele and offered a very nice pay-advancement-benefits package. The other job was working on the web development team of an obscure search engine with a name even sillier than "Yahoo!"... Looking back, it would have been pretty cool if he had have taken that job, but he says that even now, he doesn't regret a thing. He had a family to support. The job at Google was a gamble. The job he took had security, stability and plenty of room for advancement.

Please don't think I'm equating the two. My grandfather made an idiotic mistake. It was just one of many poor financial decisions he made in the course of his life. My father-in-law, on the other hand, made what was, at the time, the far better decision. It was an educated and wise choice.

My question is one of buy-in.

My friend Mason is passionate about leadership and coaching. He could talk about this stuff until you'd lost interest hours ago...trust me.

He defines buy-in as a situation "when others are willing and ready to follow you for who you are to them." Later, he says "Essentially, when you are bought in you are willing to sacrifice because of the intrinsic value that [the situation, person or organization] has to you."

Now, as someone who hopes to be in leadership one day, this is really important to me. I need to know what it is going to take to get people to buy-in to me and my organization. At the same time, I don't want to miss an opportunity to get in on a good thing, because of blindness. I don't want to miss buying-in when I should. At the very least, I would like to get people to buy into my blog.

But, you know, I sorta figure this whole blogging thing is just a fad....

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