Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Lesson From Nosegate

Warren Buffett once remarked that it was okay to learn from your mistakes, but that he much preferred learning from the mistakes of others

Buffett's point has context relative to Jesse Benton and his comment that he holds his nose while working for Mitch McConnell.

When your job is representing a person, you better be doing it all the time and in every way. That's how the big time players do it.

I once had a bar conversation with Michael Jordan's agent David Falk. This was during the heyday of MJ's days with the Chicago Bulls. Falk to put it mildly has an abrasive personality. It's probably part of what makes him a great agent. I would hate to be negotiating against this guy. During negotiations, he is going to grind and grind you. During my conversation with him, he had some pretty negative things to say about Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and he told me that the then Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was an idiot. It was really getting fun. You could really get Falk going. I tried to goad him into saying something negative about Jordan, but he point blank said to me, "If you think you are going to get me to say something negative about Michael, let me tell you, it's not going to happen. He's a client and I am where I am today because of him."

If you would have watched as much New York Knicks basketball as I did, during the era when Pat Riley was head coach, you eventually woud have figured out that there was one thing you could set your watch by. If the great Knicks center Patrick Ewing was kicked out of a game, Riley would get kicked out within two minutes and follow Ewing into the locker room. Ewing was the heart of the Knicks, Riley knew it. Riley's meal ticket was Ewing. He had his back everywhere and all the time.

What Benton said about McConnell was amateur night. The real pros don't do it that way. If there job is to work for someone in some type of support role, they have that person's back big time, all the time.

Jesse made a big mistake, learn from it. If your job is as a support person to someone, you better have that person's back, always and everywhere. And if you don't like what the person stands for, what the hell are you doing supporting that person? Find the right people to support that you really respect and get their back, and you will never find yourself in the position Benton finds himself in today.

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