Golden Rule Is Golden

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I try to write about three times per week. Most of it is pretty good and will probably help you grow your business. If it doesn't, then I probably can't help you.

You can use a traditional RSS Feedreader with this fancy-dancy link. I think this approach is harder but if you want to do it the hard way, who am I to say otherwise?

You can use a traditional RSS Feedreader with this fancy-dancy link. I think this approach is harder but if you want to do it the hard way, who am I to say otherwise?

posted this on Friday, December 2, 2011 at about 1pm.
Cry Baby

Over the years, I’ve seen an undying need by certain people and companies to call their competition out inappropriately. When I say this, I mean being very blatant about how bad the competition is rather than focusing on why they, themselves, are simply great.

I had a friend once use the analogy of a candle. When a candle is shorter, the only way it can out burn a taller candle is by melting the taller candle.

The most obvious place we see this is in political races. Herman Cain, Mit Romney, Rick Perry… they all seem to behave like spoiled children this way.

“He’s worse than I am and let me prove it!”

I adopted a business philosophy years ago that I’ll be very guarded when speaking about my competition. Even when they are blatant in their failings (or, as is more common, simply missing a few elements to doing things right) I try to speak kindly.

Those who know me know that I have an opinion and they know that I’m not afraid to share it. Even so, I truly try to live by the principle of, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

This ‘be-nice’ attitude doesn’t mean that you roll over and never defend your position or never point out why you are better but it does mean that you need to be careful when casting stones.

After Newt Gingrich was talking to Anderson Cooper of CNN about his feelings of the Occupy Wall Street assembly, Anderson commented (paraphrased), “You know, there are some liberals that would say that you are saying that OWS children are only good to be janitors.”

Newt’s response was simple and spectacular when he said, “That would be a lie.”

I think the point of this is that when we don’t understand the context of what we are judging, we really aren’t in a position to judge.

My competition are Web marketers. I can’t judge them by their own site… or even on their clients’ sites… because I don’t understand the context for the judgment. I can’t look at the performance of them in the search engines or the way the home page is designed because I don’t know the budgets or the client’s level of opinionation (that’s my new word). When I understand the client’s objectives and can really see what was done for that client, then I’m in a position to judge… but not before.

I’ll give you a real world example. Some Web marketers may look at the search engine performance of this blog and say that I am doing things wrong. They may use it as a way to point out that I don’t know what I am talking about and fault my tactics or even suggest that my book must be wrong. The fact is, I have different objectives for this site (or even my company site) than they would guess. If they don't know my goals then they can't say a word about how poor I'm performing. If I judged them by my standards, they would fail just as quickly as I fail being judged by their standards.

So, when you are going to judge what someone is doing… or, more importantly, when you are going to be vocal about your judgments, be careful. You never know if you are simply making a fool of yourself.

The golden rule we learned as kids applies as adults, in politics and in business, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Corey Smith and his wife are the proud parents of five wonderful children and live in Meridian, Idaho. He is the president of Tribute Media, a Meridian based Web Consulting firm.

He is the author of two books, "Do It Right: A CEO's Guide to Web Strategy" and "Tweet It Right: A CEO's Guide to Twitter." You can learn more about his books here.

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