Focus on the Friendship (Issue 1000)

In which we are reminded to keep our priorities straight when we’re networking.

We started the Zoom call at about 11:00 o’clock AM on Friday morning. Two other consultants joined the session to discuss a software design challenge. We ran into classic Zoom problems: one of the consultants was in a room so dark you could barely make him out. Perfect… he tends to run a little on the dark side, anyhow. The other was in a room that was so bright, we couldn’t see his face. There was no fixing the one in the dark room and to the other I said, “Max, can you close the blinds behind you? The light is blinding.”

He got up and closed the blinds. “Is that better?”, he asked.

“Much, thank you,” I said. Looking at his image on the screen for a moment, I noticed that his blue collared shirt had some sort of repeating pattern on it.

“Max, what’s on your shirt?”

“Oh,” he said looking down. “It’s the logo of the Firestone Country Club.”

Max loves golf. Loves it. He typically plays two or three rounds and hits a bucket of balls every week. He’s a solid amateur player, meticulous and competitive.

Because of professional golf TV coverage, Firestone Country Club is well known nationally and internationally. In earlier years, the PGA Championship played there three times. Two of its courses rank in the top 20 in Ohio.  Nice club. Challenging course.

“Have you played there often?”, asked the third party.

“Three times,” Max responded. “I’ve played 20 of the top 50 courses in the U.S.”

“Oh, that’s very nice,” said the third party, no stranger to golf, himself living near one of the greatest courses in the world. “And what did you shoot last time you were there? Did you play well? Did you have a good round?”

Max looked away for a moment. “There’s a saying,” he said, turning back to the camera. “Focus on the friendship.”

Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He trains banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at

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