Scott Boras is a mega-superstar sports agent, representing many of the highest profile and highest paid major-league baseball players during the past 20 years. Scott’s clients, such as Alex Rodriguez and many other major-league baseball superstars, have consistently enjoyed record breaking, ever-increasing compensation packages due to excellent negotiations based on past or expected performance.
Scott Boras shared “The Best Advice I Ever Got” in a recent issue of Fortune Magazine:
“In 1985, very early in my career, I had hired my former law professor to be a consultant in an arbitration case. He was a seasoned negotiator and a labor law attorney.
After completion of the negotiation – my first multiyear major-league contract – we went out to dinner. He said, ‘My advice to you is that you always serve the best interests of your client. An industry will change in response to you, but it won’t do it willingly.’
He said that if you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative. Keep your head on straight, don’t get emotional, take the heat, and just make sure your clients are smiling.”
The first reading of the statement, “If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative,” may seem like an overstatement or not even true. However, think about the most successful attorneys you know. I guarantee you that other than their smiling clients, almost everything said about them is negative. Think about the super successful, the super rich and the super powerful, such as Bill Gates and many of his peers and business colleagues. Virtually everything said about them during critical times in their lives, particularly by the press, is negative. Think about the current and past Presidents of the United State, particularly while they are in office. Overwhelmingly, US citizens are negative about many things the President is or is not doing, or some of the things he plans or does not plan to do.
The statement “An industry will change in response to you, but it won’t do it willingly,” is also an important insight. The same is true of people. People will many times change in response to you, but they will rarely do it willingly. Organizations will many times change in response to you, if you are highly effective, but the organization will rarely change willingly.
They key is to create and maintain laser-like focus on “always serving the best interests of your clients.” This is simple, excellent, powerful, enduring advice… and a major Tip for Success regardless of your personal and professional choices in life. By the way, if you can’t or won’t serve the best interests of a client, for whatever reasons including integrity, honesty or legacy, get rid of the client! Regardless of money or other important factors, if you can’t or won’t truly serve the best interests of a client, refer them elsewhere or politely end the relationship. Life is too short and your integrity and peace of mind is far too fragile.
Serve only those people and organizations worthy of your very best. If they are not worthy of your very best, send them elsewhere. Then, with your head held high and with all you have… Always Serve The Best Interests Of Your Client.