Do business with the ED, not the ING

TK (Tim Koogle, former CEO and Chairman of Yahoo!) taught me several life/biz lessons in my short time knowing him in 2000 and 2001. He was the source of my Paul Galvin story (see earlier post, The Paul Galvin Story).

One lesson he frequently taught regarded the selection of business partners. He said that he tries to avoid business partners who were always in the “ing” mode. In other words, he said watch out for non-executors that are constantly thinking-studying-looking into—trying to do things. He said they seem to stay in a constant state of the ING and often produce only happy talk, not results.

Instead he taught us to seek out and do business with people who live in the ED mode of life. They studied it, cancelled it, implemented it, launched it, etc. This state of ED means that they have an execution culture and talk about performance instead of dreams.

This distinction is important. Since he taught me this, there have been radical changes in the business landscape where some companies made it and others collapsed under the weight of their ING thinking (and failure to get real things done). The companies that were ED focused (get it done, then talk about it) survived and actually thrived. The ING companies went belly up, their leaders bounced around and TK turned out to be sage in his advice.

Here’s the takeaway, when you talk with potential business partners, begin to focus on their language as it is a sure sign of their execution acumen.

Stay tuned for more of TK’s rules of biz-life.

Recommended read: Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charam