IT’S AN EXCUSE FOR NEANDERTHAL BEHAVIOR
A few years ago, I watched a colleague blow a major consulting contract by making a joke. After a long day of teaching, the consultant spoke with his point of contact (and paymaster), who complimented him on the training. The client’s praise was effusive, and he ended by rhetorically asking how the consultant managed to maintain such a high teaching intensity for so many hours.
My colleague—a very smart and decent man—couldn’t resist the words on the tip of his tongue, saying: “That’s easy; I’m motivated by money.”
The client absorbed the joke like a kidney punch, exhaling audibly. It was clear from his expression that he thought my colleague was making fun of his earnest praise. After ...