Now you all know that on the RaisingBlackMillionaires.com platform, we talk a lot about the priceless value of extremely limiting or eliminating recreational television watching. It is with that disclaimer that I will make this confession: Your sister, Thiah Veona Muhammad, shares with the rest of the millions of TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) enthusiasts, an exceptional love for Scandal and the entire TGIT/Shonda Rhimes lineup. While I’m not proud of certain elements, Scandal is my guilty pleasure, and Thursdays are the nights I allow my mind to unplug from productive thought for three hours; and well….I guess that’s why they call it a guilty pleasure.
So, during last Thursday’s episode, Olivia and Abby brought together their two opposing Republican Presidential Candidates & teams to determine which of the two posed the greater threat to the Republican Party’s win of the Presidency. In the previous week’s episode, they paused their campaigns against each other to join forces and push out the one candidate they knew would ruin their beloved party. To overemphasize the point, I’ll state that another way. They set aside their personal interests and galvanized resources to enable them to work collectively to do what was in the best interest of the whole. In the business world, this is called a strategic alliance.
When I was talking to Mr. Bill Patterson, William R. Patterson’s father, he gave me some insight into William’s beginnings as an entrepreneur. He told me that when he was very young (I think around eight or nine), William decided to sell candy at school and made a gwap!
Do the young folks still say “gwap?” Better yet, did I spell it right? I don’t know, but anyway…
What happened was (what had happened was) another child caught on and started selling candy too and took some of his customers, drastically cutting into his profits. Now, if I remember correctly, young William was upset, because not only did he now have competition, but the young man was selling products at lower prices; and he knew that if he went down too much in his prices, young William wouldn’t really profit anymore. So, what’s a child to do when he finds himself in the middle of a price war with his fellow student?
I’m going to venture to say that since this was well over 20-30 years ago, Mr. Patterson didn’t get this tip from Olivia Pope (perhaps Shonda went to the same school or heard this story and got the lesson from him…you never know), but what he did gave William his first lesson in how to form strategic alliances.
When William took the problem to his father, his response was, well maybe the two of you can come together, pool your money to buy more candy, then divide up the school so that neither of you would lose money, both of you would be profitable, and your customers would remain satisfied.
So the next time you notice your child offers a skill or resource that his/her sibling or peer(s) lack, but the peer(s) or siblings has an equally beneficial skill or resource, encourage your child to engage the other party in dialogue to determine a strategic alliance that will serve everyone. The sheer practice of this exercise will set him/her so far ahead of the curve that by the time they hit teenage or adulthood, they’ll be unstoppable, because they’ll have a skill in problem solving that most adults never EVER develop.
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