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Editor's Note

Put Your Ethical Compass Into Perspective: Why You Shouldn't Forget The Middleman

Put Your Ethical Compass Into Perspective: Why You Shouldn't Forget The Middleman
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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

I often find myself acting as a fixer. For those unfamiliar with media-speak, the fixer is the person that connects you to someone else that might otherwise be out of your reach. I introduce people all of the time, and I help them do business together and get the ball rolling. I do this because I find it worth my time, and also good in a karmic sense. If I can help two entities or two people develop a mutually beneficial, fruitful relationship, I consider it terrific for everyone involved.

I’ve been offered paid commissions for this, and I have declined every single time (mainly for two reasons: because I don’t feel that favors deserve financial recompense, and also because I believe in helping people out as much as I can). Now, I have been very fortunate as most of these favors have all come back to me in spades when I most needed them. I’m one of the lucky ones who seems to get back what I give... but that’s not always the case.

Recently, I noticed someone who did a great favor for someone else and then got completely excluded after the fact. The backstory was that Person A very much wanted an introduction to Person C. Person B, a close and personal friend of mine, was happy to make this advantageous introduction between Person A and Person C, and agreed to act as the fixer. Person B arranged the meet and greet at no personal gain to themselves, and Person A continued to leverage this meeting for a long time afterward conveniently forgetting who made the introduction.

The karmic payback here? Person C reminded Person A (publicly) of who set this relationship up to begin with. What this whole trivial matter indicated to me about Person A was the following:

1. YOU LACK A MORAL AND ETHICAL COMPASS, AND YOU ARE SHORT ON GOODWILL If you conveniently forget the people who put you where you are now, you are both ungrateful and unethical. “Forgetting” favors makes you a very undesirable business acquaintance. This time you “forgot” who facilitated an introduction. Next time you’ll maybe “forget” an owed sum.

2. YOU SUFFER FROM AN INFLATED EGO, AND YOU HAVE A MYOPIC WORLDVIEW If you think that you’ve gotten so big now that you don’t need to thank people, then perhaps the public reminder from Person C put you in check. This behavior is indicative of your shortsighted vision, and a lack of any actual strategy. Self-promotion is a double-edged sword, and you probably need to have some humility when you decide to go that route- and that includes remembering favors.

3. YOU ARE WILLING TO STEP ON YOUR EARLY SUPPORTERS TO (SOCIALLY) CLIMB HIGHER You are where you are now because your good-intentioned early supporters helped you get there. Be careful who you decide to step on- there’s always someone like me there to remind Person A that you were only using them as a gateway to what you see as bigger and better things. Oh, and those bigger and better things? They don’t come without Person A- as Person C saw fit to remind you.

For those of you out there who have helped me out (you know who you are), I very much appreciate you. I will always be there when you need a hand, and I hope I’ve done all of your support justice by showing you respect and loyalty