Sunday, January 4, 2009

Context Matters: Yes, I Know You and Yes, I Can Help You!

By Bob Beaudine CEO of Eastman-Beaudine and Author of The Power of Who

One of my “Who” friends sent me a great article from the Washington Post by Gene Weingarten (check out Gene on Wikipedia here) titled "Pearls Before Breakfast." Joshua Bell, a one-time child prodigy violinist who now plays around the country in standing room only crowds held a unique experiment. The test of whether, in an incongruous context, ordinary people would stop and listen to a one of the great musicians of the world if he was disguised as just a street musician? The answer was…they didn't! Talent wasn't enough! Context matters! In fact- he was given tips of $32 dollars and change for 43 minutes of magnificent playing. 7 people stopped to listen and 1070 hurried by…How did they miss this amazing talent? What were they thinking? Recently Joshua Bell was awarded the "Avery Fisher Prize" for top classical musician in America.
This article poses a similar question I challenge people to think about in my new book The Power of WHO. Adversity seems to be woven into the very fabric of life. It seems to come out of nowhere and, of course, at the worst possible time. The important question is if the bottom dropped out for you, who would you turn to for help? People you know or don't know? It's authentic friends that know you and have shared meaningful experiences with you that you can count on to help in every way possible. On the street, people couldn't even stay in the moment long enough to hear some of the best music ever played. They didn't know him and as a result they tuned Joshua out.
Unfortunately, 10.3 million people are desperately looking for work and unfortunately are turning to "traditional networking" -using Cold calls, sending out mass email blasts; Dear Sir, To Whom It May Concern, and Dear Recruiter. They are also passing out business cards to strangers and mindlessly trying to multiply their social network with mere acquaintances. Do you think ordinary people, recruiters, or executives will stop and read these emails and consider their talent? The answer is…No! Absolutely not! Why? Because they do not know you! Context does your Power of Who. And in these challenging times it may be of great value to remind a friend that needs some inspiration too.
For a New Plan of Action in 2009 — go to check out my book at it is available nationwide January 6, 2009.

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