Advice That Made A Difference

by: Jim Roche

“Look to your right, and look to your left. The people beside you are going to be involved in your career for the rest of your professional life.”

This advice was something Terry Matthews once said at a staff meeting. I started my career working for Terry. I came out of university about the same time he started Newbridge Networks. I thought to myself at the time, ‘Nah, that doesn’t happen. We’re all going to work here for a period of time and then we’re going to move on to something else and our paths will go in different directions.’

But Terry turned out to be completely right. The gist of the advice he was giving was really that business is about relationships, and progress is made not only through technical innovations but, probably more importantly, as a result of the relationships that we form during our career and how we go about leveraging those relationships to accomplish our shared goals.

That turned out to be profoundly valuable advice for me in my career. When I’m involved in a negotiation, I recognize that the negotiation is just one instance of the building of a relationship with the people or with the company with whom I’m negotiating. While there are a ton of transactions that go on in business, each transaction is important only in the broader sense of the relationship you’re forming.

Adapted from an original article in backbone magazine

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