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December 4, 2013

Judging A Book By It’s Cover

How often is judging someone by an appearance or by your first impression accurate?

I suppose it is probably different for everyone. I know for myself, I am not very good at accurately judging someone else based on a 5-minute encounter or even in a one hour meeting. I try very hard not to judge people’s qualifications on looks or what someone might say during an initial conversation. But it does happen.

We often judge businesses the same way. The first time we enter a business we make a subconscious opinion or snap decision about that business. I have not personally recorded any statistics, but my guess is that we are often wrong. I remember going to Hahn’s Hardware store in Lowell with my dad when I was growing up. It was an old fashion hardware store with hardwood floors and narrow aisles. It seemed cluttered and appeared very disorganized with a damp and dark basement. But in reality, they had at least one of everything and could repair almost anything. My first impression wasn’t the right impression. What I perceived as a little scary turned out to be a great resource for the community. It didn’t take long before I grew to love that store and Mr. Hahn.

People are like that store. We must get to know them to understand who they are. We all have natural and adaptive thoughts and actions. We can pretend and adapt for a while, but under pressure we tend to revert to our natural self. That natural self is who we really are. Think of a sponge saturated with water – we can’t easily tell it is saturated until we touch it and then the water appears.

Businesses are like that also. They have a culture. They also have a natural and adaptive personality. When under pressure or during stressful we see the real culture of the company. This is when we see the true colors of how a business acts, reacts and deals with thing internally and externally. If there are negative components of a business culture, it is not easy to change. A slow cultural change can takes a lot of time and energy, often from the top!

Don’t form your impressions of people and businesses too quickly, you may miss out on the best.



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