Sometimes Seeing 50 Shades of Grey and More…

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I take a lot of pride in how my commercial real estate properties are managed. It’s not just that they’re ultimately a reflection on me personally. I also believe in the practical value of keeping a customer happy. But this is often easier said than done. The fact is that, in many cases, we don’t see eye to eye with everyone—at times that includes customers, clients and consumers in general.

But being successful in business—or in anything, for that matter—demands some ability to step into the other guy’s shoes to try and see things from their perspective.

If this year’s post-election experiences will teach us anything, it should be that there are multiple sides to most issues and arguments. It’s rarely ever a black or white scenario, but generally peppered with many shades of grey.

A friend recently joked about how much better things would be in the world if everyone simply agreed with him. He said things would run a lot smoother in his life, at the very least, and maybe everywhere.

Obviously it’s a silly fantasy we’ve probably all considered at one time or another. It could be true, perhaps, and it’s certainly funny.

But when it comes to their business, a successful entrepreneur should stay away from fantasy—just like they should avoid fear.

Rather than ruminate on what isn’t, an intelligent business manager needs to embrace what is. Likewise, they need to bite the bullet where differing opinions are concerned and not just tolerate them, but sometimes even embrace them.

Opinions, like trends in general, are the signposts that take a smart investor down the road to success. Whether or not one likes what they see, they need to retain their clarity and observe what is really there. Otherwise they’re doomed to crash.

Differing opinions are information and potentially valuable information.

It’s easy enough to sit in the office and try to apply your perspective to an ever-changing economic picture. But it can be much more worthwhile and valuable to put yourself in the place of others and try to foresee the reasoning that might drive decision-making, investment opportunities, market trends, etc.

Next time someone tells you something you don’t agree with, you might want to thank them for the information. It may not sync with your opinion but it’s a reflection of some reality that you need to be aware of as an investor.