Sometimes, the Smartest Guy in the Room is a Jerk

by Chris Naff on October 16, 2013

Sometimes, the Smartest Guy in the Room is a Jerk

No one likes a showoff, and no one likes to work with people who think they are smarter than everyone else. For whatever reason, people like this are not satisfied unless they make others feel inferior to them. I avoid these kind of people at all costs. Business is at its best when it creates mutual benefit for all involved, so if one side does not respect their counterpart, how can they ever truly want to reach a win-win situation? It doesn’t work.

Remember Enron? One of the largest fraud schemes in the history of the world came down to arrogance; the executives liked to refer to themselves as The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Before I get ahead of myself, I’m not saying every chauvinistic jerk is a someone looking to defraud you. Rather, I am saying that arrogance and idealism can kill any deal. The difficult part of that is figuring who has those characteristics and making sure your brand is not associated with them. At the end of the day, your integrity and quality of your work is what creates value for your brand.

Associating with folks who don’t have your best interest at heart can be devastating for your brand. If you find yourself in a negotiation with someone who you feel is not looking for a mutual benefit, the deal is never going to work. Rather, people who respect you are more likely to have your best interest along with their best interest in mind. That is who you want to do business with, they will grow with you and you can find success together.

But how can you really know the integrity of someone if you have never worked with them before? You have to do your homework. Do they have good rapport with people in your network? Despite how connected the world has become on the Internet, people obviously still connect with each other in person. That is where you can truly get a sense about how someone feels about those they’ve worked with. It goes beyond the testimonials you can get online.

Last week we were talking with a client and he was sharing an experience he had with a company he hired for a project. The work the agency had done for our client was of quality and everything was completed on time, but he told us that he fully regretted ever hiring them because the staff at the company were complete jerks. He did not feel like the company respected him as a client as he explained he got the impression that they just wanted to do the work and get paid. They did not follow up after the project was completed to check his progress, he was simply a transaction for them. Sure the company might have some very smart people who can do quality work, but because he didn’t think they really cared about him, our client still was not happy with the experience.

Nicholas and I looked at each other as he shared his story and thought, We’ll never partner with a company like that. 

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Chris Naff

Director at FastBlink
With a background in finance and accounting, Chris joined FastBlink in order to offer clients a wider variety of services. Originally from Massachusetts, Chris studied at Florida Atlantic University.

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