Editorial: The people you associate with

Jul 31, 2013

Mark Zweig contrasts five examples of individuals best avoided.

It has been said before that you “can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.” It is such a true statement! Successful people – like the CEOs on The Zweig Letter Hot Firm List (announced in this issue) really understand this. Their mood, energy level, opportunities, and morale are greatly impacted by the people they spend time with every day. You, too, can learn from their example, as I have over the years. Here are my thoughts and observations:
  1. Successful people like other successful people. I’m not just talking about successful people in the same business or profession but also those who are successful in other fields of endeavor. You get ideas from things they are doing to be successful and some of them may be usable in your firm or life. Sure, you may be able to learn from a fool. But think how much more you can learn from a smart person!
  2. Engaged people like other engaged people. I put everyone I work with into one of two camps. Either they are engaged in their business or they aren’t. Those who are fully engaged are thinking about their work 24 hours a day.
  3. I get great ideas from them. I feed on their energy. Those who aren’t never come up with anything new. They suck me down and lower my energy and enthusiasm. Whom do you think I want to hang out with?
  4. High energy people versus low energy people. High energy people are starting new projects, going to new places, and doing things all of the time. Low energy people want to stay in the office, stay at home, and do nothing when they have a chance to do nothing. Life’s too short!
  5. Losers and hard luck cases can bring you down! It’s really easy for me to say, “Don’t hang out with people like this.” I’ve generally been lucky in life and things tend to work out well for me. Some folks seem to have one disaster after another befalling them. Be careful about spending too much time with these people. Their bad luck can rub off on you in the form of negativity and cynicism. Both of those qualities will drag you down into the muck and mire.
  6. Dishonest/unethical people. You know who these people are. They cheat every way they can – on taxes, on not following rules, and on screwing the other guy. Their whole value system is warped and basically comes down to, “It must be OK if you don’t get caught.” Now, I realize we’re all adults here and no longer teenagers but peer pressure can still affect any of us. Watch out for these folks and steer clear of them. You could even have certain clients who clearly operate this way. Steer clear my friends – they aren’t worth it!
Yep, the people you hang out with are either bringing you up or driving you down. Who are you associating with? If you’d like to hang out with some really great folks come to our Hot Firm Conference and Awards Celebration in Miami’s South Beach in October. You don’t have to be a winner to attend but you will be a winner by attending! I promise! Mark Zweig is the chairman and CEO of ZweigWhite. Contact him with questions or comments at mzweig@zweigwhite.com. This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310), issue #1018, originally published 8/5/2013. Copyright© 2013, ZweigWhite. All rights reserved.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.