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Volume 21 No. 1
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Bob Beaudine, CEO, Eastman & Beaudine

The search-firm executive and author of “The Power of Who” talks about what’s holding us back, identifies who can help us do something about it, and asks, “Why can’t we be friends?”

T he energy between two people is what makes great marriages, great families, great teams, great organizations.

When two people connect, there are legendary results. If I can get two people, just two, to agree, that’s the common denominator of all success. Just two people to agree, we can change the entire organization. Two people who really, really love each other.   

My dad started the executive search industry back in 1967 and my dad started to introduce me to this concept of energy early. My dad was my best friend, he was my dad, my partner.

What if each of us were given specific people in our lives to help us in ways we never imagined? What if those people weren’t happenstance acquaintances? What if they were strategically given to you, to help you find that place in life you always dreamed about?

Mr. Rogers wrote a quote that’s just amazing. “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of the people you meet.”

Men after the age of 35 stop adding new friends. … This has become an epidemic problem, this whole relationship thing. Women get relationships, men are just terrible at it.

There is this study of fleas where they put these fleas in a little glass jar and put holes in the top. And for the first two days, they like bounce off the top, but then slowly they just sit at the bottom. Then they take the lid of the jar off, and they don’t come out anymore. And that’s what’s happened today.  

Everything changes in a moment’s flash. One idea, one thought, one friend can change your life. But we’ve got to stop being where we have lids on our life.

We work with people who tolerate us, they never celebrate us. We work in environments that are less. You’re not necessarily doing the job you love, in a place you love, with people you love or where your family loves it. The answer is, That day has got to stop. You can never be successful in an environment where you are not celebrated.

I can’t get CEOs in the country to declare their one friend. This is a disaster we’re in. They are all isolated and when you’re in trouble and you’re in a spot, there has to be one person. You’ve got to be able to call one person.

You do one thing so much better than anybody and together we could kick butt. But we hinder ourselves; why? Because we won’t go deeper in our friendships.   

I don’t have any clients that I am not friends enough with that I couldn’t look at them and tell them I love them. None. It’s so awkward for some people.

We live in a world that says we can’t have friends and actually do business together. Because friends and business are taboo. So let me get this correct, we are supposed to work with people we don’t know and don’t trust?  

Only 18 percent of corporations have a program that promotes friendship. Eighty-two percent don’t. If you had just one friend in your organization, you are 40 percent more productive.  

The fact is, people want to do business with people they really like. That’s the way this is. People do business with people.

Do you know that you have friends right now that are out of a job that will never tell you? They’ll never tell you that they need help. Why? Because we don’t want to ask. You don’t mind helping someone, so if you and I are best friends and I ask for help, would you help me? So why would you deny me the same joy of helping you? It never works in reverse.

I tell everyone when they come into my office, ‘Congratulations. Greatest day of your life.’ They say, ‘What? I just got canned!’ I say, ‘You didn’t like that job. You got divorced in that job. You were a pain in the butt at that job. Do something now that you love. Let’s change everything. How great would it be to come home with joy on your face and happiness in your heart?’

When I started to understand who I had that God gave me specifically in my life, my business quadrupled. I started to stop all this crap of networking, websites, handing out business cards to strangers, sending “dear recruiter” letters. All this stuff is embarrassing. We have been given people.  

I’ve got 5,365 names in my database. It took me 6.4 million miles on American Airlines to do it. Then I did a study on who’s touched my life or given me any business. Eighty-seven out of 5,365. I took “Dumbass” off my forehead. I started focusing in on my 87 and my business went through the roof. Why? Because friends help people.  

We don’t have 50 friends. If you had 12 friends, three are close, one is best, and that’s your inner circle. Jesus had 12 friends, three close, one best, and everyone knows who he is. Two thousand years later the guy is still signing new recruits and doing deals.