Rich Evans – The day I became Ari Gold

I am struggling. I have lived my life and run my business always looking for the mutually beneficial situation. Trying to ensure we are always playing win/win. Sometimes, I have found myself in a situation where we were clearly losing but I have always ‘done the right thing’. Taken the high road. Made sure that people couldn’t ever say we did wrong by them.

Where has this got me? It has got me to a relative level of comfort. I’m happy, I don’t have everything I want, but have everything I need… LIES!

I am constantly amazed at people that will not work together for the greater good. I have had recent experience of this trying to organise cross media promotions in our region and getting other media outlets to be on the same page and work together for the good of the business community, what did we get? The same underhanded tactics of trying to out do each other and get their fair share.

I am a big fan of the show Entourage, and the subsequent Movie that came out last year (Finally). I have also been watching a show called Ballers recently, created by the some of the same guys. Both shows are about high stakes, volatile environments in sports and entertainment.

One of the main characters is Ari Gold. Super Agent to the stars, the man that takes no shit, curses like a sailor, nearly loses everything, but always comes out on top and gets the deal done.

Part of me loves Ari. Part of me loathes him. He is the worst husband, father or friend you could ver have, but he is the fiercest, most loyal agent… In the end though, Ari manages to reconcile both sides, and is able to be the good guy, but not before his final battle in the movie.

The lesson in all this for me is – get battle hardened first. I have been trying to be like the zen master making sure we didn’t upset the path along our way, but all that happens is that we hold back on truly getting what should be ours.

That has to change. In one of our businesses, our newspaper and media business we have some great opportunities to expand, and have chosen relatively soft targets in terms of your locations for launching new papers and websites, because I didn’t want to compete with other people – what if they were just like me? Had everything on the line to try and make their idea work?

I was having this conversation with Kellie the other afternoon, and her mother’s instinct is different than mine.As a mother she is protective of her family. She wants security knowing that we have all we need. I as the docile male never feel threatened and live in the belief we will always have want we want because I am strong and brave and can do anything.

But when it comes down to it, I have chosen to be the nice guy, rather than getting what my family wants far too many times.

I need to channel Ari. I can be a nice guy later, but for now, we need to steam roll on and achieve the outcomes that we are capable of.

It’s time to get into the fight and win. It’s not that I think we can’t be better than our competitors, it’s that I know we can. Our products will be far superior, they really won’t stand a chance. Should that be my problem?

I remember a colleague once saying to me that sometimes you have to cut off the hand to save the arm. It’s the cost of leadership, making the tough choices for the betterment of many at the cost of a few.

As I grow into the leader I wish to become this year, and build the organisation I wish to build – there will be costs, human costs. I must reconcile myself with the fact that we will have a huge positive community impact in the markets we enter and some collateral damage is inevitable.

It’s not something I am completely ok with yet… but I will be.

And just because I plan to channel Ari, don’t think I am going to start wearing a suit 😉

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