During my recent visit to Beijing I saw some incredible edibles. Chief among these were scorpions literally skewered on a short wooden stick, at least four at a time, clearly not yet grilled as they were still wriggling! Next to the scorpions were seahorses on a stick, starfish on a stick, pupas on a stick (yes, those cocoon things that caterpillars create), and some other unidentifiable (I didn’t try too hard) 8 legged creatures all on a stick and all roasted for your dining pleasure. No, I didn’t partake, it was a popular marketplace and unfamiliar fare for tourists, but I did consider how many of us eat scorpions in the course of our business and do it with success.
The trick to eating scorpions is to ensure the stinger is out and you know what you are getting into. So in business when we come across a scorpion in terms of a client, a project, or even an employee it is our job to realize their behavior, stinger and all, is likely a fear response and we are in charge. We have to be able to disarm them and then take them on. Scorpions are often those who have had bad experiences elsewhere, they’ve been burned, and they are extra cautious going forward. When we take the time to prove our professionalism, our ability to deliver on promises made, and address their concerns they lose their fear, give up their sting and we can serve them up.
Lesson learned: Don’t run from scorpions in business, learn to disarm them so you can eat them for breakfast!