The new me
(Fortune Magazine) -- I like myself pretty well. I've done okay as me. But it came to my attention recently that I was up for a redesign. These things are scary at first, but as they go along, they start to get exciting. Businesspeople are like sharks, not just because we're gray and slightly oily, or because our teeth trail the innards of those we have eviscerated, but because we must move forward or die.
Bottom line? I like the new me, and I think you will too.
First of all, I'm prettier. I think you'll notice that right away. More ... lush. Yeah, I might be a bit thicker around the middle, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Businesspeople should exude a certain gravitas, so that people may look at us coming down the street and say, "¡Caramba! He looks great! Life must agree with him!" And it does too. Life looks a whole lot better than it did in the last stinky decade, anyway. You're going to see that bigtime in the new me.
Plus, I'm going to be more colorful from here on in. I think my act was getting a little bit drab -- you know what I mean? Well, stick a fork in that, because it's done. See my new tie? It's deep crimson, with a touch of bright, electric blue, and my suit has a little yellow pinstripe in it. No more wingtips either! Shiny, sleek, and with a semi-ridiculous pointy toe is how we roll now. It was damned expensive to reaccouter myself, but you only get one chance to make a second impression. I hope you like it.
The changes are not just external, my friends. A redesign seeps inside and makes a bit of a ruckus. My splendiferous new exterior is but an outward manifestation of the reinvigorated beast strutting its stuff beneath the cover.
Which means I'm going to be brighter inside as well as out. A life in business does something to you. You enter the game all tightly wrapped and ready to tackle a challenge. Then the daily pressure, the problems that never quite disappear, the fact that all solutions have been heard before, the fads and management enthusiasms ... all of it wears on you. You flatten out.
From here on in, I'm greeting every sunrise as if it were the opening bell on the first day of the rest of my career. Faster. Smarter. Always with a keen eye out for what's new, what should be embraced and taken out for a test drive, drinks before dinner, and a night on the town. All on company plastic, of course.
Contrariwise, like a fine sirloin, I'll be as tough and crusty in the right places as I am warm and tender in others, depending on where you poke me. Not that I've been any cream puff in the past -- don't get me wrong -- but it's clear that there are a lot of people who need to be smashed in the face before they do serious damage to others. I can't wait to get my hands on them now -- irresponsible lenders, flaccid regulators, gassy chief executives, overcompensated empty suits! Watch out, gang. I'm coming for ya!
Some things will not be redesigned, of course. To begin with, I'm still going to have a whole lotta heart. I will continue to speak up for the poor sales manager freezing in a dipstick motel in the middle of nowhere, trying to hit growth numbers in a contracting marketplace. I will feel the pain of subordinates trying to figure out what makes the guy in the corner office tick tick tick until he or she goes blooey. I will be touched by the stories of employees whose lives are buffeted by the demands of shallow investors. I will never forget that what we do is all about people just like you and me, only a whole lot weirder. This will probably make me just a little bit more humble and even more fun to be with as well.
And, oh yeah. As always, I will remain just a little bit too sexy for my clothes.
Stanley Bing has recast his book "Executricks" for the paperback edition, available everywhere; it is now titled "How to Relax Without Getting the Axe." For more Bing, unrelated to the Microsoft search engine, go to stanleybing.com.