President Barack Obama and Warren Buffett in t...

President Barack Obama and Warren Buffett in the Oval Office, July 14, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog post inspired by the article written by Warren Buffett in the Fortune Magazine, it is an excerpt from Warren Buffett‘s Annual Letter to his shareholders. I have read most of the Annual letters, but there are things that stick with you, like the title of the post. Price is what you pay and Value is what you get. So many of us miss this simple advice because we start chasing the next shiny object. I have learnt that patience, discipline and conviction are always rewarded as long as they are grounded by the right principles. I see people make rash decisions because the pain becomes acute and they just want to give up on a Mission. Even more damaging is the notion of just the change from the current scenario to another will some how solve the underlying problem. As I wrote yesterday all of us make mistakes, but the smart ones learn from it by introspection and by getting feedback. One of the biggest challenges that I have seen working with different cultures is that the notion of getting and giving feedback is dramatically different in Iceland compared to say the US or in Sweden or for that matter in Norway and Luxembourg. Every culture has a different way of looking at things. I have heard leaders talk about the teams that they work with complete lack of trust. I have learnt with many examples in my life that if you want to be trusted you need to be trustworthy. If you want respect from your team you need to show respect. The simple maxim is that what you give to the Universe it usually returns back with dividends. In the heat of the battle or stress or the pressures of the situation we forget the Prices we pay for the Values we get. It can be negative or positive value but a price we must pay. It does not matter whether it is an investment decision or a relationship decision it is always a the same paradigm. Price is what you pay for the value you get. Relationship are more than transactions… they are investments, you need to give it time and effort. When we treat Relationships like transactions they end badly. I have seen it happen so many times. The situations that end badly are always because the parties involved had not paid the price.

I love the post by Brad about TDC (Thinly Disguised Contempt), I have seen it happen in teams. As Brad says it

TDC is bad. TDC is toxic. It lingers. It spills out over everything. Your friends and colleagues notice, but don’t really understand, as you send them mixed signals. TDC is dangerous – it gets inside, around, and all over everything.

Be blunt. If you don’t like something, say it. If someone does something stupid, say it. If stuff needs to change, say it.

Stomp out TDC.

When you mix culture into this, it is a difficult balance. I have learnt through experience a lot of people are not ready to receive blunt feedback… it hurts, but as a leader you just need to do it. They may hate you for it at that time but it is the best value you give them for the price of being intellectually honest. Here is an intellectually honest answer by Steve Jobs on working with a collaborative team at Apple.

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