Peter J. Burns III: Work With The Willing


As my old partner and friend Bob always told me..."Work with the willing." I have found this advice to work equally as well in both the business and personal worlds. Before I embraced my friend's sage advice, my intemperance in coming to closure on a business matter in the face of those in business who were either too timid or were simply not bright enough to understand the benefits of what I was proposing...was quite exacerbating.

In my nearly 4 decades of business start-ups, operations and negotiations, I have met way too many naysayers, fence sitters and downright incompetents in the business world. Actually finding a decision maker that can listen to my ideas, discuss them intelligently and then "pull the trigger" on if my proposal makes sense to continue discussions with the intent of making it work for both sides or even receiving a quick "no" is all too rare in my world.

The picture on my blog depicts one of those rare incidences of good decision making skills at arguably the most basic level in the world of business. I was on a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia for a well known international NGO.During a trip to Harar the famed walled city in Eastern Ethiopia, I came upon a most unusual business. It seems that for some 30 years, a family had supported themselves by feeding a wild pack of hyenas that tourists would pay to join in and have their pictures taken doing so. Yup...yours truly in the requisite blazer and khakis of the die-hard New England Preppie, was in the pitch black outskirts of the city (illuminated by Land Rover headlights) feeding the snarling beasts surrounding us while gingerly offering raw meat on a stick to these not-so lovely creatures. Exhilarating(?) yes, not too bright on my part....yes, too!

My guide, translating between the young second-generation business operator and me (picture on top) actually negotiated a deal between us, which is detailed on my website Now, that's how I like to do business-direct, mutually profitable and quick. It's too bad this model of simple business is more prevalent in the "Dark Continent," 9000 miles from home than it is in my backyard but I can hope! :)

Posted on January 26, 2018 .