business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

Every so often the universe reminds me that my point of view isn’t the only one out there. It happened twice in the past week. Well, at least, twice that I noticed.

Through various circumstances, I found myself in two separate conversations with Californians. Each time, as is my habit, I raised my favorite topic with West Coasters: my yearning for In-n-Out burgers.

It’s silly, I know, but we all have our own thing and those double-double cheeseburgers are high on my list. It’s to the point that I know the exact location of the closest In-n-Out to many West Coast airports.

So imagine my shock when one of the Californians claimed zero knowledge of the regional chain. And the second dismissed the burgers as mediocre. When I asked him what food he craves when he comes east, he cited Potbelly Sandwich Works.

Now, here’s the thing: I like Potbelly and consider the stores quirky, fun and a good value. But the stores are located all around the area where I live and therefore they just aren’t all that special. I have to imagine that he’s just as befuddled about my passion for In-n-Out.

It could be dismissed as just always seeing the grass as greener on the other side, but more importantly, I think it reminds us that our opinions are not always universally accepted.

For countless reasons - and having nothing to do with politics - that’s more important than ever. Think for a second about the discussions we constantly have here at MNB regarding e-commerce in general and Amazon in particular. It seems that every day that the e-mails Kevin posts demonstrate that range of opinions.

We have readers who see e-commerce in general as the great gathering storm and others who find ways to dismiss or certainly downplay its significance. Likewise we have a similar range of opinions specifically about Amazon and its prospects for future domination.

The truth is none of us really know the future. We can only speculate and forecast based on what we already know and believe.

That brings us back to a point we make here frequently: it is more important than ever to seek out those with different experiences and points of view. Doing so keeps us fresh, keeps us challenged and, just maybe, keeps us relevant.

Consider what Muhtar Kent, the soon-to-be outgoing CEO of Coca-Cola told Fortune magazine in a recent interview:

“The best leaders keep learning. They learn from their mistakes and their successes - not only when they’re young, but throughout their careers,” Kent said. “Listening to others has been absolutely essential to this process. No matter how far you go as a leader, you have to keep seeking advice and good counsel.”

(By the way, MNB has more on the Muhtar Kent piece in Fortune below...)

It’s never an easy process, but it sure matters because that counsel might help you see challenges and opportunities that would otherwise be invisible.

It matters even when those you are listening to completely disagree with you on In-n-Out cheeseburgers. Or maybe it especially matters when you completely disagree with them.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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