Thursday, June 05, 2008

On being important...

"Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people who want to be important."
— T.S. Eliot
For the longest time I attributed this quote to the great Benjamin Disraeli, as it got stuck in my head that way and frankly, it's the sort of thing he'd say. So the man who brought us Cats also brought us this little nugget of wisdom. To be fair, it was Andrew Lloyd Webber, not T.S. who mangled a perfectly good little book on silly cats into a Broadway spectacle. But I digress.

I have known a fair number of people who wanted to be important, and frankly I'm dealing with a few of them now. They are totally unconcerned for being effective, but simply want to hold power so that they can fill some sinkhole in their psyche that can't be filled by anything else. It's a false premise anyway, as those who seek power inevitably lose it in some manner or another.

The other sort of difficult person is someone who needs to interact only with important people (or more correctly, people they think are important). So the sales reps who skip the staff (the people who potentially sell their stuff), the sales managers (the people who direct the people to potentially sell their stuff), and skip "right to the top" are deluded, misguided souls. They somehow think that they can short-circuit the process by cutting out the people who run it. I might sign the checks, but if the salespeople don't sell the product, those checks are worth as much as a Schrute Buck.

I'd like to ask the inhabitants of the world to consider this question—would you rather be effective or important?

The answer you give yourself is most telling.
"The more you are talked about the less powerful you are."
— Benjamin Disraeli
Now that's a true fact.

Respectfully submitted,


No comments: