What Can a Consultant Learn from Genghis Khan?

Find Someone to Model

Genghis Khan

Whether you’re running a marathon or running a business, finding a coach or mentor can help take you to the next level. If you don’t have one, the next best thing is to find someone who’s already successful at the endeavor you want to master.

Bearing that in mind, I’d like to propose that you choose Genghis Khan as a “business” person to model.

Okay, I can already hear the cries of protest. I’m a consultant, why on earth would you want me to emulate a bloodthirsty warmonger? It will lead me to ruin and perdition! Are you trying to drive me out of my business?

Point taken. I myself have always regarded Genghis Khan as nothing more than a brutal monster that ravaged lands and murdered or subjugated millions. But, however insane it may sound, I had an epiphany when visiting the San Jose Tech Museum’s exhibit of Genghis Khan.

The exhibit—and later, the film “Mongol: the Untold Story of Genghis Khan” I watched—revealed that, like so many people, there was a flip side to the man. Although not a “good man” in our modern sense, he nonetheless had an attribute worth emulating: his ability to build alliances.

Relationship Marketing?

He didn’t rise to power only because of his overweening ambition and ruthlessness, it was just as much due to his ability to instill fierce loyalty in his followers. That was the one thing that other warlords failed to do. And thus, he was able to unite the Mongol tribes.

As he defeated his rivals, he didn’t simply slay his enemy soldiers and abandon civilians. True, he was merciless to those who fought him, but if they were willing to follow and obey, he gathered them under his rule. He took conquered tribes under his protection and integrated their members into his own empire.

Furthermore, unlike other warlords of his day, he delegated authority based on merit and loyalty rather than family ties. He collected talented people and rewarded them well.

And what does this mean for your business? You should always remember that it’s people who make your business what it is. It’s people who compose the core of your business, not your skills, not the latest widgets you acquire, as important as they are. Remember to not only satisfy your customers, but also to treat your staff and suppliers well. Reward them handsomely. Give them reason to be loyal to you. Build alliances.

Of course, you already know this. But it’s so important it bears repeating.

Build a loyal base of satisfied customers and happy employees. Do right by all the people you deal with, and you have the foundation for a thriving business.

Needless to say, unlike the Khan, you can accomplish all this without spilling blood, literal or metaphorical.

And by the way, did you know that Genghis Khan devised a code of law that was fairly civilized for his time? It forbade the kidnapping of women, and selling women into marriage.

It would be mighty hard to be a consultant if you were in constant danger of being kidnapped or sold!

mcherylchow@gmail.com' About Cheryl Chow

Writer, Editor, Translator (Japanese/Chinese to English), specializing in Health and Fitness. Owner of My Cat is My Therapist site, exploring the health benefits of the human-animal bond.

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