For the past several days, I have been doing Reboot’s “Shadow”. I don’t know a soul at Reboot but have listened to their podcast since they started. Personally, I have always been interested in psychology since I was in high school.
As an athlete, your psychological makeup is as important as your physical makeup. The same goes for being a floor trader. The same goes for being an entrepreneur. I know floor traders that took months off of trading simply because they were going through a divorce or going through something else in their life that was disrupting their internal psychology.
A few years ago when Raman Chadha approached me about an idea my interest in psychology was one of the reasons I was really interested. He started the Junto Institute which teaches management teams about emotional intelligence and works on their psyches.
I woke up this morning and remembered something from my past which relates to what I am doing today. Sort of looking at my shadow.
When I was in my first job at 3M as a salesperson, the traditional path forward was this:
- work your territory
- go to Minneapolis and work in Marketing
- become a branch manager in another area of the country
- go back to the home office and work your way up the corporate ladder
Your future was laid out for you. As I have written about before, my boss was Harry Touissaint. Harry was a great boss and he thought differently. It turns out, his first boss was a guy named Warren Wasescha. Harry had a sales territory in New Orleans and Warren was the branch manager in St. Louis.
In my first year on the job, there was a big auto parts show at McCormick Place. Harry told me to go work it. Warren was at that show. While I was working the booth with a bunch of other 3Mers, Warren was nowhere to be found. He showed up later in the day with bags and bags and bags of stuff. A big smile on his face.
I asked him what he did.
He said he went around the country and looked for small companies 3M could buy and integrate into their business. I thought that was totally cool. He said he’d work with these little companies, sometimes for years as they developed their business. He’d build a relationship with them, and if it looked promising, they’d try to buy them. He said that a buyout didn’t happen very often.
Warren was a corporate venture capitalist before there was corporate venture capital. Interesting how the world turns around isn’t it?